Monday Obi Melifonwu saw work with the Raiders first team defense due to a slew of injuries at the safety position. With a couple of those safeties set to return soon, his time with the first team would certainly be brief. As it turns out, his time on the FIELD was brief.
Just a day later, Melifonwu was not practicing. And here we go again.
Melifonwu didn’t seem like he was quite 100% in practice. He came up limp and was walking gingerly a couple times, but stayed in, probably for lack of better options.
Four safeties were down Monday — Karl Joseph, Erik Harris, Marcus Gilchrist, and Tevin Mitchel. Joseph and Harris returned Tuesday and both saw first team work. Reggie Nelson worked in with Shalom Luani and Dallin Leavitt out there as well.
Melifonwu was injured most of last season, seeing the field in just five games and twice placed on injured reserve. His second injury lingered into the offseason and had him slow to return to the field. Since he got back, he has struggled to catch up with is teammates and work his way up the depth chart. Getting injured again won’t help that.
A second round pick, Melifonwu and first round pick Gareon Conley both missed most of last season and the two are once again keeping each other company in the training room. Conley was working the first team this offseason right up until he was lost to a hip injury on the first day of training camp.
These two were supposed to return and make it like the Raiders had two extra draft picks this year. Conley might still do that. Melifonwu is much farther off still and it may end up being another special teams season for him. Not what you expect from a second round pick.