Why Detroit Lions see rookie CB Ifeatu Melifonwu ‘being one of our main guys’ in future

When coaches and front office personnel sit down to do their postmortem next month, rookie Detroit Lions cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu wants to give them something to think about.

Melifonwu will play a prominent role in the Lions’ depleted secondary in the final two games of the regular season, this Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks and next week against the Green Bay Packers.

The Lions are without top cornerbacks Amani Oruwariye, Jerry Jacobs and Jeff Okudah because of injuries; Melifonwu is in line to make his second straight start opposite Will Harris at cornerback.

Packers wide receiver Davante Adams catches a pass against Lions cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu during the second half of the Lions’ 35-17 loss on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021, in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

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This week, he will match up with talented Seahawks receivers D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Next week, it could be All-Pro Davante Adams.

How Melifonwu fares will go a long way towards determining his outlook for next season.

“Here’s what I want to see these last two weeks,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said. “I want to see a guy that is not a slow burn. He comes out hot early and has already got it turned up, and he’s ready to compete, and he’s got the look in his eye and not taking him a minute to get going. That’s what we’re looking for, because he’s got it in his body, and he’s smart and he works. So that’s the next step here for him.”

A third-round pick out of Syracuse, Melifonwu has played sparingly because of a severe quad strain that kept him out nine games.

He opened the season as the Lions’ dime defensive back, playing behind Oruwariye, Okudah and nickel cornerback A.J. Parker, then started a Week 2 loss to the Packers after Okudah ruptured his Achilles tendon in the…

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