2018 hamstring injury, missed four games. 2019 undisclosed lower body injury, missed two games.
Lockdown corner in zone who has great internal timing and always knows when to break on the ball. Plays in space very well and can get to his target by the time the ball arrives. Physical player and fantastic tackler. Great run support for a corner. Plays very hard and competes with very athletic receivers. Shows bright spots in his ability to stay on the receiver in man coverage. Very quick play recognition, and good block shedding.
Didn't play a lot of man, and was left unrefined in some areas with a small sample size. Doesn't put his hands up at the line and disrupt routes early. Will start to grab later down the route. Hasn't been tested in top end speed, and may not have the needed amount to keep up in the NFL. Can sometimes leave too much space between him and the receiver.
Prior to the 2020 season, Ifeatu Melifonwu was tough to find on draft boards. Since then, he's rocketed up to being one of the top corner prospects, and someone who will not make it past day two. He played mostly zone at Syracuse, where he shined as a corner with impeccable timing and an aggressive play style. He also showed flashes during his short times in man coverage, and just needs to work on some more refined parts of his game. He has a high ceiling as a dynamic cornerback with well above-average run support and tackling. He's a likely second round prospect, but is still that will make an impact early. He's got some work to do to develop his game, but also can be a reliable starter on opening day.
Not a dominant athlete, but definitely has the traits to get the job done. Plays with a lot of physicality despite a thin frame. He doesn't blow anyone away with his speed, but kept up with receivers and uses his sense of timing to his advantage well. Moves across the field well and can be anywhere he needs to make a play quickly. Plays with good strength for his size, and is very reliable when making contact. Can fight with receivers to break up the pass, or bring down running backs on one hit.
Big Play Ability
Doesn't jam receivers at the line. Tries to go for the ball while it's in the air and doesn't disrupt the receiver's route. He sticks with receivers in man coverage, but will likely need to fine-tune hand fighting, jamming at the line, and man spacing at the next level. Keeps a lot of distance from receivers and although it seems like they have him beat sometimes, he's never out of the play with great timing to come in and make the play. Nice fluid hips and has good change of direction. Has a lot of upside in coverage and the potential to be a dynamic corner.
Closes with great quickness and breaks up a lot passes. Leaves a lot of space between himself and the receiver in zone, but comes flying in to breakup the pass. Good timing, doesn't come too early to get flagged, and doesn't come to late to allow the catch.
Shows weak spots when coming to attack the ball carrier at top speed. However, he has a great ability to shed blockers. Will engage physically with them, and expose their blocking weaknesses and shove off them. Hard hitting tackles who can wrap up, or knock guys down with his impressive strength.
Engage with Blockers
Goes for the ball and knows how to do it. Will get a lot of pass breakups and can run into be physical very well. Doesn't get burnt in coverage, and can always be relied on to make the tackle. Patient in coverage and run support, and knows when to come in. Hard tackler, and competent in every phase of the game.
Played a very zone heavy scheme at Syracuse, which allowed him to show his talents in attacking the catch, but left him somewhat unrefined in man coverage. Smart player, constantly surveying the field. Knows immediately if it's a run or pass. Needs to react quicker when trying to prevent yards after the catch.