After all the coverage and out of this world expectations for the Raiders’ 2nd round pick, Obi will be a “no go.”
Just as Raider Nation prepares for the Silver and Black to storm the field, it seems the defense will be without a key component. Obi Melifonwu was expected to compete for a starting safety job, but his destiny will have to wait for at least eight weeks, maybe more.
By now we all know the Oakland Raiders’ defense has been analyzed every which way. However, Melifonwu being out throws a monkey wrench into an already less than ideal situation.
Obi Melifonwu will be eligible to come back Week 9 against the Dolphins. I'm expecting to see a lot of Shalom Luani. Oh boy…#RaiderNation
— Bonta Hill (@BontaHill) September 5, 2017
As much as losing Melifonwu hurts, the defensive backfield this might turn out to be a golden opportunity for safety Shalom Luani who impressed in the preseason. Meanwhile, not wanting to wait around or be criticized for inactivity, Reggie McKenzie moved quickly and signed safety Erik Harris, formerly of the New Orleans Saints, to provide short-term depth.
For now, the tandem that Raider Nation was dying to see of Melifonwu and Karl Joseph will have to wait until later on in the season, assuming Melifonwu will be good to go. Quite devastating from a fan’s point of view considering how good the rookie looked in such a small sample of just one preseason game. In fact, PFF recently gave Melifonwu a rating of 78.0 in 22 snaps; we’ll have to wait to see if that was indeed a precursor to the regular season.
As for the Raiders’ recent addition, Harris had a player rating of 61.4 via PFF. Obviously, Harris isn’t going to amaze anyone right now so Raider Nation will have to settle for a stable of Joseph/Luani/Nelson/Harris to hold down the back-end; let’s not freak out just yet.