Raiders take UConn S Obi Melifonwu in 2nd round
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) The Oakland Raiders have selected Connecticut safety Obi Melifonwu with their second-round pick in the NFL draft.
The Raiders took Melifonwu with the 56th overall pick Friday night, adding more help for the secondary after taking Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley with their first-round pick.
Oakland was targeting defensive help in the draft after struggling on that side of the ball last season. General manager Reggie McKenzie had made most of his pre-draft additions on offense because he felt there was plenty of defensive talent in the draft.
The Raiders have big needs at inside linebacker and defensive tackle but opted for a hard-hitting safety instead. Melifonwu had 118 tackles as a senior at UConn with four interceptions and 2 1/2 tackles for loss. At 6-foot-4, 224 pounds, Melifonwu has the size to match up with NFL tight ends and was also clocked at 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the combine.
Melifonwu can play both in the box and deep safety and also worked at cornerback in the Senior Bowl practices, providing some versatility for the Raiders.
The Raiders took a strong safety with their first-round pick last year with Karl Joseph and also have Pro Bowler Reggie Nelson at free safety.
Oakland also has the 88th overall pick Friday night.
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