6 cornerbacks the Vikings could pick in the 2021 NFL Draft
By Dean Jones
Ifeatu Melifonwu (Syracuse)
Height: 6-foot-2 | Weight: 212 pounds
- 43 tackles
- 1 interception
- 6 pass breakups
It’s hard not to look at the physical attributes Ifeatu Melifonwu brings to the table and not be impressed. The Syracuse standout has the right sort of length, athleticism, and physicality that are normally associated with starting cornerbacks at the next level. So providing his transition is a smooth one, he should be able to make an instant impression.
While Melifonwu thrives in man coverage thanks to the leverage he is able to generate from the point of attack, the prospect also has enough fluidity to cover even the tightest routes. His size makes it difficult for opposing receivers to best him in a contested-catch situation, with the corner also able to assist in run support with conviction.
Melifonwu does need some work, especially on anticipating where throws are going ahead of time. The Vikings don’t have a second-round pick following the ill-fated Yannick Ngakoue trade last year, so if they identify him as a prospect of interest, they’ll either have to move up or hope he drops into the third round where they are better positioned.
Another option a team has with Melifonwu is gradually transitioning him to safety, which Minnesota might also consider down the line with Harrison Smith now entering the twilight of his glittering career.