NFL Draft 2021: Detroit Lions select Ifeatu Melifonwu No. 101 overall

Defensive Back Ifeatu Melifonwu#8 from Syracuse (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Defensive Back Ifeatu Melifonwu#8 from Syracuse (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions kicked off their rebuild on Thursday night during the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft adding a player to improve the team along the trenches. And to the surprise of many, that trend continued on day two as well.

The Lions drafted Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell with the seventh overall selection in the first round on Thursday. Detroit then turned around and selected two defensive tackles back-to-back with their first two draft picks on Friday night.

Detroit drafted Washington defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike with the 41st overall selection in the second round. Then, with their first of two picks in the third round, the Lions selected NC State defensive tackle Alim McNeill at No. 72.

Would the Lions continue to rebuild from the inside out with their final selection of day two in the third round? With the 101st overall pick, Detroit selected Ifeatu Melifonwu, a cornerback from Syracuse.

The Lions parted ways with starting cornerbacks Justin Coleman and Desmond Trufant this offseason. Then they signed veteran corners Quinton Dunbar and Corn Elder as free agents. Melifonwu figures to find a place in a rotation of talented young cornerbacks that includes the Lions’ first-round selection from last year, Jeff Okudah, and Amani Oruwariye.

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At 6-foot-2, 205-pounds, Melifonwu has an ideal long frame who is fluid in coverage and could quickly develop into a starter at the NFL level. He recorded 54 total tackles, 3.0 tackles of loss, one sack, six pass deflections, and one interception as a junior in 2020.