The defensive trend for the Detroit Lions on Day 2 of the NFL Draft continues with the selection of Syracuse cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu with the 101st overall pick in Round 3.
A long and rangy cornerback at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Melifonwu was a two-year starter at Syracuse, who recorded 55 tackles, three tackles for loss, 10 defended passes and an interception in 2020. He is the younger brother of Obi Melifonwu, who plays for the San Francisco 49ers.
"We compete and me being a younger brother I just want to do everything he does and do it better," Melifonwu said of his competitiveness with his older brother. "But from his end, he wants me to be better than him. He wants me to do things better. He wants me to perform better at everything, so I can't even say it's a rivalry, he just supports me in everything I do."
The Lions have a long-term need at cornerback. Melifonwu gives them a big corner to compete with Amani Oruwariye and Quinton Dunbar on the outside, and adds depth to a position that needs it.
View photos of the Lions' 3rd round pick, Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB - Syracuse.
Like the two defensive tackles the Lions have already drafted on Day 2, Melifonwu is an athletic freak and terrific press corner with 4.48 40-yard dash speed and a 42-inch vertical. He was a wildcat quarterback, running back, wide receiver and defensive back in high school.
"I feel like my size and athleticism definitely helps a lot," Melifonwu said. "Because I feel like I might be able to make up for things other corners can't. Honestly, it's always just a plus having technique and having athletic ability to go along with it. I think that definitely helps me in a lot of areas."
He really has an eye for the football with 20 passes defended in his 19 career starts.