The Oakland Raiders waived/injured 2017 second-round DB Obi Melifonwu on Thursday, ESPN's Field Yates reports.
Melifonwu was selected 56th overall last year after the University of Connecticut product authored one of the great combine performances in the event's history.
Here's what we wrote after his eye-popping showing in Indy, which earned Melifonwu a spot on our 2017 All-Combine squad:
The intrigue surrounding Melifnowu only began to stir at the Senior Bowl, where saw a 6-foot-4, 219-pound safety with cornerback movement skills on the practice field. Yet, the leap — literally — Melifonwu made from his time in Mobile to his week in Indianapolis is remarkable. Obi's Jedi-like 41-inch broad jump and 44-inch vertical rank second and sixth, respectively, in the event's history, narrowly behind ex-Huskie teammate Byron Jones, in 2014. (What's in the water in East Hartford?) Melifonwu's 4.4-second 40-yard dash paced all safeties and tied for eighth among all prospects. To reiterate, Melifonwu is 6-4 and 219 pounds.
Nonetheless, he's now out after one season, albeit limited to five games (one start) by ankle and knee injuries. Perhaps the writing first appeared on the wall this offseason in May, when Jon Gruden told reporters, "I haven't seen much of Obi except in the training room."
Shots fired, indeed. And now Melifonwu, who was acquired as part of Reggie McKenzie's secondary overhaul with the vision of him becoming a safety-linebacker hybrid able to cure the defense's ills covering tight ends, has been fired.
Some teams expressed reservations over Melifonwu's tape not aligning with his otherworldly athleticism. For the Raiders, though, it might serve as a cautionary tale about valuing freakish physical traits over good football players. Melifonwu flashed impressive ability in Mobile, even before destroying the Combine, but he was also something of a "tweener" and hardly had elite production with the Huskies.
Of course this also could be a case of Melifonwu not being one of Gruden's guys. His Raiders added a lot of veteran DB help this offseason, most recently signing Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on Wednesday.