Rashaan Melvin signed a one-year prove you belong type of deal with the Detroit Lions this offseason. He will try to fend off the teams’ fifth-round rookie Amani Oruwariye for a starting job.
He’s been a heavily traveled corner; Rashaan Melvin has played with seven different teams after he steps onto the field for the first time as a member of the Detroit Lions. He’s a player that coming out of college flew under the radar; he was an undrafted corner in 2013 out of Northern Illinois. In his defense, not exactly a football factory.
Melvin hasn’t been a good corner thus far in his career, but he is the most comfortable when he’s playing man to man. Matt Patricia likes his corners outside to lock up man to man quite often rather than playing a bunch of zone.
Rashaan mentioned recently last year in Oakland was a disaster because the team was asking him to play a style in which he wasn’t very comfortable playing. Throughout all his various stops he had a brief stay in New England with Patricia, so he understands what will be asked of him. The one thing I’ve been left to question though is why didn’t he stick in New England? The Patriots have this reputation for getting the most out of underrated players. It seems average or at times below average players are plugged into the Patriot system then find a way to thrive.
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With the Pats, he played a mere eight total games primarily as a reserve. He didn’t start a single game, but he spent part of that year in Baltimore. He didn’t start a game there either, but it can be difficult for a player to learn different systems, terminology and a feel for various teams in the same year and expect to produce. The year prior he spent between three teams, Tampa who originally signed him, Miami and Baltimore.
The Detroit Lions added a dynamic corner via free agency this Winter in Justin Coleman. Coleman was widely considered as the top slot corner available; he will be the second most valuable player the Lions added to an already outstanding defense behind Trey Flowers. Coleman wasn’t just the best slot corner available; he could be the best in the game.
It takes a different type of corner to be able to work out of the slot. The routes are often designed to pick defenders taking them across the middle of the field through heavy traffic. Some of the best corners in football wouldn’t fare well working inside. The Richard Sherman, Darius Slay types lock-down one half of the field working against the big physical type receivers downfield, Coleman excel’s against the smaller quicker guys inside.
That leaves the starting corner spot open on the opposite side of Slay. Melvin should get the first opportunity to showcase his abilities. He’s 6’2 and runs a 4.4/40. He’s played more regularly as he’s matured in the league, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Amani Oruwariye takes the starting spot from Melvin leading up to week one of the season.
In an article published by the Detroit News, they’ve mentioned Oruwariye was ranked as one of the fifteenth most underrated picks in the entire draft by Pro Football Focus. He was selected 146th overall by the Detroit Lions. Look for the 6’2 Oruwariye to have a strong camp and preseason in hopes of landing a starting job in week one.