The Philadelphia Eagles need to sign safety Obi Melifonwu

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

After officially clearing waivers, the Philadelphia Eagles should strongly consider signing former second-round safety Obi Melifonwu.

Boy, am I the only one who seriously misses Rodney McLeod?

Seriously, after the diminutive free safety went down with a torn MCL, the Philadelphia Eagles defense just hasn’t been the same on the back-end.

The point could even be argued that had McLeod been on the field against the Titans there’s no way Jim Schwartz‘s defense would have given up that crucial fourth and long that ultimately sealed their fate, and dropped the team to 2-2.

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Would the Eagles still be 3-4 had McLeod not torn his MCL? That’s a discussion for another day, but right now, it’s clear the team could still use some help to shore up their secondary down the stretch.

For all of the praise Avonte Maddox has received for his selfless transition into a deep centerfield safety, a position he’s never played should be lauded, he’s been far from elite in his new role.

Very far from elite.

Currently ranked the 135th best safety in the league according to Pro Football Focus (out of 148), even Maddox’s best statistical game of the year, a 62.7 defensive grade in the Eagles’ Thursday Night Football bout against the New York Giants, would have put him in the bottom half of the safeties in the league.

As of right now, Maddox is without a doubt the worst starting safety in the league, and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.

But wait, the safety situation gets even worse.

With Eric Reid officially signed to the Carolina Panthers, a move that shouldn’t affect the Eagles as he clearly can’t play alongside Malcolm Jenkins, there are virtually no starting caliber safeties available on the open market this late in the season.

Well, at least there isn’t a few days ago.

After starting the 2018 NFL season on IR, the Oakland Raiders have officially opted to waive their 2016 second round pick Obi Melifonwu in the ‘Great Gruden Fire Sale.’ Two days later and he’s officially an unrestricted free agent.

While Melifonwu may not be a household name, he may be one of the most athletically gifted players in the entire league.

Standing 6-foot-4, 224 pounds with a long arms and powerful legs, Melifonwu absolutely lit it up at the 2016 NFL Combine after a solid career at Connecticut, running a blazing fast 4.40 40 yard dash, while jumping out of the building with a 141 inch broad jump and a 44 inch vertical, second only to his former Huskie teammate Byron Jones.

Though Obi is still a prospect, as opposed to a starting caliber actual player, a big reason why he is no longer a Raiders, Melifonwu’s ceiling is astronomical and certainly deserves a spot in a secondary as talent deficient as the Eagles.

Remember when the team traded for Deiondre’ Hall just before the final trim down to 53? Signing Melifonwu would be like that move on steroids.

It would also once again serve as an opportunity to stick it to their arch rivals the Dallas Cowboys, a bonus that certainly doesn’t hurt.

In the weeks leading up to the draft, 11 teams brought in Melifonwu for a pre-draft visit, including the Eagles and the Cowboys. While neither team was able to land him in the draft, the Cowboys have already brought Melifonwu in for a free agency visit earlier this week in the hopes of reuniting the two former UConn Huskies in the same secondary.

His other visit thus far? The New England Patriots.

While Melifonwu may not be able to come in and start from Day 1, he’s the type of player who gets chance after chance to make a roster because his physical gifts are too good to pass up.

The Eagles could certainly use a lottery ticket like that moving forward.

With linebacker size and cornerback speed, Obi Melifonwu could step in and become an instant contributor on special teams while learning the Schwartz’s defensive scheme. If the Philadelphia Eagles want to add an otherworldly talent who could potentially become a generational star, they should offer Obi Melifonwu a contract. If they don’t, the Cowboys (probably) will.

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