The Dolphins, seeking a skilled young safety to pair longterm with Reshad Jones, brought on-the-rise Connecticut prospect Obi Melifonwu to team headquarters to meet with coaches and top executives on Friday, according to a source.
Melifonwu has helped himself so much in the offseason process that some consider him a first-rounder.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper has him going 34th in his mock draft with the second pick of the second round.
“Melifonwu might have been the biggest athletic freak at the combine, running a 4.40 40 and posting a ridiculous 44-inch vertical and 11-foot-9 broad jump,” Kiper said. “Both leaps ranked as the best of any prospect at the combine. Melifonwu has moved all the way up from the fourth-round grade I gave him during the season. He's a potential Day 1 pick now.”
Melifonwu was a first-team All-American Athletic Conference selection and his team's top tackler in 2016, making 118 hits, 2.5 for loss, leading the team with four interceptions and breaking up three other passes.
Lance Zierlein, on NFL.com, wrote than Melifonwu is a “big and athletic, [but] he may lack the coverage qualities and instincts needed to work as a ‘last line of defense’ player in a pass-happy division. Melifonwu is an effective downhill tackler who has the ability to match up against tight ends and make a living near the line of scrimmage. His football instincts aren't up to par, but the size and traits will be extremely enticing for teams who covet traits first.”
The Dolphins signed Nate Allen and TJ McDonald (who is suspended for the first eight games of next season) to cover them at safety opposite Jones, but they would like to find a longterm answer to pair with Jones.
Teams are permitted to bring 30 non-local players to their offices, and sources say the Dolphins have used at least four of those visits on safeties: Melifonwu, NC State’s Josh Jones, UCF’s Shaquill Griffin and Texas A&M’s Justin Evans.
Some teams view Melifonwu as a corner, but the Dolphins and most others are looking at him at safety. Melifonwu watched tape with coaches on his Dolphins visit.
The Dolphins’ first three picks are at 22, 54 and 97.
Please read this other post on a high-end cornerback brought to Dolphins offices this week.