Detroit Lions are expected to lean on rookie CB Ifeatu Melifonwu

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

Detroit Lions rookie corner Ifeatu Melifonwu‘s time is now.

Head coach Dan Campbell and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn will be expecting the youngster to step up and fill the void left behind by second-year cornerback Jeff Okudah who will, unfortunately, miss the rest of 2021 with a ruptured Achilles.

It’s a significant blow to the organization after investing so much into the no. 3 overall pick from the 2020 NFL Draft.  Okudah battled injuries during his rookie year and didn’t perform up to par but had a really good camp this summer, and he’s worked his tail off trying to improve.

Although Okudah didn’t look that great in the season opener, he had a tough task with Deebo Samuel. The problem is, when you draft a corner in the top-three, he’s expected to be Darrelle Revis or Jalen Ramsey.  It’s too early to label Okudah a bust, but his future is certainly the main concern, and I can’t help but wonder if he will ever be able to live up to his draft position.

The Detroit Lions will turn to rookie cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu with Jeff Okudah out for the season.

The Detroit Lions drafted Melifonwu with the 101st overall pick in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft out of Syracuse.

Melifonwu is a physical outside corner that stands 6-foot-3 and plays around 215 pounds.  The 22-year old expected to start opposite Amani Oruwariye Monday night in Green Bay.  This should be a bit concerning to Lions fans knowing how awful the Packers played Sunday in Florida against the New Orleans Saints getting embarrassed to the tune of 38-3.  The Packers were so bad that Jameis Winston threw for a whopping five touchdowns in the contest.  Expect Aaron Rodgers to try and expose the youthful Detroit secondary.

As it stands now, Oruwariye is the only non-rookie corner currently rostered.  A.J. Parker is a rookie that is starting in the slot, and backup Jerry Jacobs is also a rookie along with Melifonwu.

In Week One against the 49ers, Melifonwu played just 12 defensive snaps and was targeted once, allowing a catch totaling 12 yards.  Melifonwu also recovered a fumble that was forced by Trey Flowers late in the fourth quarter.

Campbell mentioned on Monday that the Detroit Lions would be looking to add a corner this week, and the most obvious choice seems to be Nickell Robey-Coleman, who is currently on the team’s practice squad.

Next. Lions late rally comes up short but this is clearly a scrappy group. dark

The Detroit Lions also had Corn Elder and veteran Quinton Dunbar in camp this summer.  Elder is primarily a slot corner, and I assume the Lions will be looking for someone who can play on the outside.