Melifonwu Agrees to Deal and is Ready to Play

Second-round pick will start training camp on time and should see action at safety, cornerback and special teams in 2017

Obi Melifonwu is now good to go.

The Raiders’ rookie safety, a second-round pick in the recent NFL draft, came to terms with Oakland Wednesday and will be able to participate fully in training camp. Practices officially begin Thursday.

“I’m really glad this process is over,” he told reporters. “Now I can focus on football, on plays, and getting on the field and helping the team win any way I can.”

Melifonwu is getting a four-year deal valued at $4.5 million. His signing leaves the Raiders with just one unsigned draft pick, No. 1 choice Gareon Conley, a cornerback. Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said Wednesday he believes the Conley deal also will be finalized soon.

Melifonwu, a former standout at Connecticut, will compete for playing time at safety. It’s likely the 6-foot-4 Melifonwu will get playing time as a backup at safety and perhaps even as a nickel or dime cornerback. He may then slip into a starting role at free safety in 2018 alongside strong safety Karl Joseph.

“Any role that this team has for me I’m excited about,” Melifonwu said Wednesday after reaching his deal. “It’s definitely going to be a challenge covering all these great tight ends in the league, but at the same time, I’m up for the challenge and I’m just ready to get after it. Like I said, just help the team any way I can, whether that be special teams or on defense.”

Melifonwu was a first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection this past season at Connecticut. Now that his contract is settled, he’s eager for action.

“I’m looking forward to it, stepping on the field finally, full pads, and I’m just really looking forward to getting better every day, taking it one day at a time,” he said.

The Raiders’ first exhibition game is set for Aug. 12 against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.

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