When the Raiders heading to Dallas for their third preseason game on Saturday, their round two pick safety Obi Melifonwu will take the field for the first time. He had missed the bulk of training camp with an undisclosed injury.
“I thought Obi had a good week of practice and we look forward to seeing him Saturday,” said head coach Jack Del Rio.
Melifonwu had suited up for the team’s second preseason game but did not play.
It wasn’t expected that he would be taking the field in that game. He had returned to practice for the final few days of training camp, but did very minimal work. As of the final day of practice, he was still not working at 100% and wasn’t participating in team sessions, but his participation in drills was a very good sign.
Now, after three days of practice back at the team’s Alameda facility, it sounds like he is healthy and ready to see game action.
The return of the 6-4, 224-pounder will be a welcome sight for the Raiders’ struggling secondary. They have been hoping he could contribute early on as a ‘moneybacker’ which is a hybrid safety/linebacker. His primary duties would involve covering the tight end, with which the Raiders have also continued to have difficulty.
Prior to his injury Melifonwu had some reps with the first team, but played mostly with the second team. It will be interesting to see when he enters the game Saturday and how much playing time he sees.
Now if they can just get top pick Gareon Conley back as well. He is looking like he could return soon as well.