Philadelphia Eagles draft buzz: An exclusive sitdown with Ifeatu Melifonwu

Ifeatu Melifonwu (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Ifeatu Melifonwu (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Recently, ITI had the chance to interview cornerback prospect Ifeatu Melifonwu, someone who could fit perfectly in the Philadelphia Eagles secondary. He’s one of the top defensive backs in the 2021 NFL Draft class, and depending on how the chips fall, he’s someone who could even rise into the first round.

If he falls any further than the second round, any team would be foolish not to pick him immediately. Melifonwu’s tape matches the hype.

Okay Philadelphia Eagles fans, let’s talk measurables.

Unlike most cornerbacks, Ifeatu stands at six-foot-two and weighs in at 213 pounds. Some sites have even listed him at six-foot-three. That is unreal size for a cornerback. At his recent pro day, he ran a 4.44-second 40-yard dash, had a 41.5-inch vertical jump, and had an 11.2-foot broad jump. In terms of measurables, Melifonwu’s evidently top the charts.

As we mentioned, the Syracuse product has an impressive film that scouts will love. He excels in both man and zone coverage. Whether he is playing off-man coverage, press coverage, deep third, or the flat, he is going to get the job done and blanket whichever receiving threat he needs to.

He can even blitz if asked to. With his length, hip fluidity, and recovery, he won’t get beat often. His size and skill set will reward him with the opportunity to be one of the top young cornerbacks in the league if all goes well. He also plays quite a bit on special teams which the Philadelphia eagles or any other NFL team will love.

ITI sits down with the potential Philadelphia Eagles prospect.

We asked Ifeatu about his ability to get the job done in a variety of ways and his preparation each week with fellow starting cornerback Garrett Williams. Here’s what he had to say:

“I’ve been blessed with great coaches who helped us with both man and zone coverage. I’ve had two different defensive coordinators and three different cornerbacks coaches. I feel like they’ve all brought different aspects of coaching to the table to help me be a more complete player. Because of that, I feel like I can fit into any scheme. In terms of preparation, Garrett Williams and I watched a lot of film. We watched film Monday through Thursday on our own as well as the night before games in our hotel. We were definitely going into games prepared.

Fundamentals and technique are important at any position but that is especially for defensive backs. Ifeatu excelled against some of the top wideouts in the ACC because of his sound technique. Ifeatu talked to us about how the competition in the ACC has prepared him to take the next step and the significance of the little things:

“You have to be locked in each week. Every team has a good receiver on their team. Playing in the ACC against some of those top receivers has only helped me. Especially at cornerback, you have to play with technique or else you’re going to get beat. No matter who you are, no matter how athletic you are, no matter how fast you are, you have to play with technique. You have to do the little things right or else you’re going to beat”.

Some scouts have criticized Ifeatu for not being physical enough in coverage for his size. We gave Ifeatu a chance to address this in his own words:

I feel like I’m a pretty physical guy, and I make a lot of tackles. I’m a willing tackler as well but I’ll never knock any criticism. I try to take it in. If they’re saying I could be more physical then maybe there are some instances in which I could be more physical. I just try to take in those little critiques and improve everywhere I can.

That’s something that Philadelphia Eagles fans will love to hear. Ifeatu is willing to take constructive criticism and improve his game when necessary. The Eagles need more players like Ifeatu who are coachable and approachable.

The former Syracuse standout was also a three-time ACC honor roll selection which he credits his coaches and mom for. Along with what Ifeatu brings to the Eagles on the field, his character is also a big positive on his resume.

Plenty of athletes struggle to take criticism because of their egos or don’t keep up with their academics due to laziness but not Ifeatu. He brings a professional and team-first attitude into the locker room which the Eagles could use.

To wrap up, we asked Ifeatu about the aspects of his game that he plans to improve upon this offseason and what NFL teams are getting if they draft him:

“There’s always something that you can improve. I want to improve on my pad level and weight distribution. I’m a bigger guy so I need to have good pad level. I also want to improve in off-man coverage. I feel like it’s a lost art in today’s game. I want to work on my press-coverage footwork as well. You can always clean up your footwork”.

He continued: “As far as what I bring to a locker room and team, I feel like I’m level-headed. I’m never too high and never too low. I feel like I can talk to anyone and make friends with anyone. I don’t really cause problems. I’m not someone you have to worry about off of the field.

As far as what are coaches getting, they’re getting a long, athletic corner. They’re getting an all-around corner, not just a coverage corner and not just a zone corner. I can play man. I can play zone. I can be physical. I’m a willing tackler”.

Here are a few final thoughts if you’re a Philadelphia Eagles fan.

Several prospects turn heads with their measurables each year. Unfortunately, all of them won’t have the same knowledge of the game or character that Ifeatu Melifonwu possesses.

Trending. 7 targets from Florida not named Kyle Pitts. light

Regardless of how you look slice things, it would make perfect sense for the Eagles or any NFL team to take Ifeatu within the first two rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft. Eagles fans should keep his name on their draft boards and hope that the front office gets the opportunity to acquire him. Ifeatu is a star in the making and he’s just getting started.