Raiders take London born Obi Melifonwu in the 2nd Round

Obi Melifonwu completed his journey from London to the National Football League when he was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia.

Melifonwu, a stand-out safety at the University of Connecticut, was the 24th player selected in the second round, the 56th overall.

He becomes the fourth UK-born player currently in the NFL, joining defensive end Jack Crawford (Atlanta Falcons), offensive tackle Menelik Watson (Denver Broncos) and running back Jay Ajayi (Miami Dolphins).

Melifonwu, born in Archway’s Whittington Hospital to Nigerian parents, spent the first three years of his life in London before his family moved to Massachusetts. “My heart is with Nigeria but London is my home,” he said prior to the draft.

He earned first team All-AAC honours in his senior year at the University of Connecticut Huskies, with a team-leading 118 tackles and four interceptions, and was one of the star performers at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in February.

British-born players currently in the NFL:

Born Rookie Year NFL Team College
Jay Ajayi (RB) London 2015 Miami Dolphins Boise State
Jack Crawford (DT) London 2012 Dallas Cowboys Penn State
Graham Gano (K) Arbroath 2009 Carolina Panthers Florida State
Lawrence Okoye (OL) Croydon 2013 Miami Dolphins Whitgift HS
Efe Obada (LB) Nigeria 2015 Free Agent N/A
Menelik Watson (OT) Manchester 2013 Denver Broncos Florida State
Obi Melifonwu (S) London 2017 Oakland Raiders Connecticut
Jermaine Eluemunor (OT) London 2017 Baltimore Ravens Texas A&M

2017 1st Round Draft Notes


The Cleveland Browns selected DE MYLES GARRETT with the No. 1 overall

This is the the first time in Texas A&M history that a player was chosen first overall.

Garrett became the sixth Texas A&M player to be selected in the top 10 since 2011, joining T JAKE MATTHEWS (6th overall, 2014), WR MIKE EVANS (7th overall, 2014), T LUKE JOECKEL (2nd overall, 2013), QB RYAN TANNEHILL (8th overall, 2012) and LB VON MILLER (2nd overall, 2011).


North Carolina QB MITCHELL TRUBISKY was selected by the Chicago Bears with the 2nd overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, and Texas Tech QB PATRICK MAHOMES was chosen with the 10th overall pick by Kansas City, both becoming the first quarterback from their respective schools to be selected in the 1st round.

Trubisky joins T.J. YATES (2011, 5th round) and RONALD CURRY (2002, 7th round) as the only North Carolina quarterbacks to be selected in the NFL Draft.

Mahomes is the 4th Texas Tech player, and the 1st Red Raider quarterback to be selected in the first round since 1967:

2017 Patrick Mahomes QB 10 Kansas City
2009 Michael Crabtree WR 10 San Francisco
1983 Gabe Rivera NT 21 Pittsburgh
1981 Ted Watts DB 21 Oakland

Clemson QB DESHAUN WATSON, who was selected by the Houston Texans with the 12th overall pick, became the second first-round quarterback in school history. He joins STEVE FULLER (23rd overall by Kansas City in 1979) as the only Tigers quarterbacks to be selected in the 1st round since 1967.


The Tennessee Titans selected Western Michigan WR COREY DAVIS with the 5th overall pick, the highest draft pick in school history.

Davis became the second player and first wide receiver out of Western Michigan to be selected in the 1st round of the NFL Draft, joining LB JASON BABIN, who was selected by the Houston Texans with the 27th overall pick of the 2004 Draft. ​


Louisiana State RB LEONARD FOURNETTE (4th overall, Jacksonville) and Stanford RB CHRISTIAN McCAFFREY (8th overall, Carolina) were both selected within the first ten picks of the 2017 NFL Draft; the first time two or more running backs were selected in the top 10 since 2005 (RONNIE BROWN, CEDRIC BENSON, and CADILLAC WILLIAMS).

Fournette became the 4th LSU running back selected in the opening round since 1967, while McCaffrey became the 3rd Stanford running back chosen in the 1st round.

LSU Running Backs selected in the 1st Round since 1967:

2017 Leonard Fournette 4 Jacksonville
2006 Joseph Addai 30 Indianapolis
1991 Harvey Williams 21 Kansas City
1979 Charles Alexander 12 Cincinnati

Stanford Running Backs selected in the 1st Round since 1967:

2017 Christian McCaffrey 8 Carolina
1988 Brad Muster 23 Chicago
1982 Darrin Nelson 7 Minnesota


Alabama TE O.J. HOWARD (19th overall, Tampa Bay), Mississippi TE EVAN ENGRAM (23rd overall, New York Giants), and Miami TE DAVID NJOKU (29th overall, Cleveland) were all selected in the 1st round of the 2017 NFL Draft. The three 1st round selections are tied for the most Tight Ends chosen in the 1st round (2002, 1978 and 1973). 


Alabama CB MARLON HUMPHREY (16th overall, Baltimore), DT JONATHAN ALLEN (17th overall, Washington), TE O.J. HOWARD (19th overall, Tampa Bay), and LB REUBEN FOSTER (31st overall, San Francisco) were all selected in the 1st round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Alabama now has a current streak of nine consecutive drafts with at least one first-round pick. The Crimson Tide tied Florida (1983-1991) for the second-longest consecutive streak with at least one player drafted in the 1st round since the advent of the common draft in 1967.

Longest streak of consecutive seasons with a 1st Round pick, since 1967:

YEARS SCHOOL # of Seasons
1995-2008 Miami 14
2009-2017 Alabama 9*
1983-1991 Florida 9
1983-1989 Pittsburgh 7
1991-1997 Ohio State 7
1997-2003 Florida 7

* Including this active Season


Three Ohio State players heard their names called in the 1st round of the 2017 NFL Draft – CB MARSHON LATTIMORE (11th overall, New Orleans), S MALIK HOOKER (15th overall, Indianapolis) and CB GAREON CONLEY (24th overall, Oakland). In 2016, the Buckeyes had a draft-high 5 players selected in the first round.

With a total of eight 1st rounders in the last two Drafts, Ohio State tied Alabama (2011-12) for the fourth-most 1st round picks over any two-year span since 1967. Miami is the only school with more 1st round choices over any two-year span, with nine players selected from both 2001-02 and 2002-03, and 10 players drafted from 2003-04.

Schools with the most 1st Round picks, over any 2 year span:

2003-04 Miami 10
2002-03 Miami 9
2001-02 Miami 9
2016-17 Ohio State 8
2011-12 Alabama 8


Other items of note from the 1st round…

  • TE EVAN ENGRAM (No. 23; New York Giants) was the first Mississippi tight end selected in the first round since 1967. He was the fifth tight end in school history to be drafted since 1967.
  • Wisconsin LB T.J. WATT was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 30th overall pick. Watt and his brother J.J., who was the 11th overall selection in 2011, became the eighth pair of brothers since 1990 to be selected in the first round of their respective NFL Drafts.
  • Louisiana State S JAMAL ADAMS was selected sixth overall by the New York Jets, joining his father GEORGE ADAMS (1985, New York Giants) as the eighth father-son combination to be drafted in the first round in the common draft era.

Day 3 Draft Picks

NFL teams are to announce their Day 3 Draft picks from unique locations, and will be recognising key individuals.

The 2017 NFL Draft is from Philadelphia, Apr 27 – 29

From military bases, to state landmarks and attractions, and even to outer space, NFL teams will announce their Day 3 selections for Rounds 4 to 6 of the NFL Draft from special locations, of their choosing, and will recognise individuals who have made a significant impact.

Beginning on Saturday, April 29 at 5:00 PM BST, Day 3 pick announcements will feature current NFL players and legends, military personnel, actors, singers, and other special guests. New this year, Round 6 will be youth football-themed, and youth football players from Pop Warner, NFL FLAG, and local teams will represent various NFL clubs in their individual markets during pick selections.

Here is a sampling of special team announcements during Day 3 of the NFL Draft:

  • Arizona Cardinals – Ten season ticket members will join cheerleaders and Big Red, the team’s mascot, to announce picks from the GRAND CANYON.
  • Chicago Bears – Bears running back JORDAN HOWARD and military personnel will make selections from the team’s headquarters at HALAS HALL.
  • Cleveland Browns – Former Browns player JOSH CRIBBS and season ticket members, along with alumni, will announce picks from CEDAR POINT AMUSEMENT PARK.
  • Denver Broncos – Military members and NFL legends will make selections from PIÑON CANYON MANEUVER SITE.
  • Houston Texans – Astronauts at the INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION AND SPACE CENTER will announce picks for the first time from outer space.
  • Indianapolis Colts – Colts defensive end KENDALL LANGFORD will make picks from the INDIANAPOLIS ZOO, along with staff personnel.
  • Jacksonville Jaguars – Picks will be announced from LONDON and JACKSONVILLE.
  • Kansas City Chiefs – Service members will make picks from the WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE.
  • New York Jets – Children of fallen EMT Yadira Arroyo will announce Day 3 selections from EMT HOUSE 26.
  • Philadelphia Eagles –  Actor MORRIS CHESTNUT and CNBC’s JIM CRAMER will make picks from the NFL DRAFT THEATER.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers – Actor MILO VENTIMIGLIA, actress MANDY MOORE, current players, and members of a local youth football team will announce selections from HEINZ FIELD.
  • San Francisco 49ers – Country music singer JON PARDI will make picks from LEVI’S STADIUM.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers – General JOSEPH VOTEL, Commander of the United States Central Command, will announce selections from the team’s headquarters at ONE BUCANNEERS PLACE.
  • Washington Redskins – Actor MICHAEL EALY will make picks with fans from FEDEX FIELD.

Special team announcements for Day 3 will be broadcast in Philadelphia throughout the NFL Draft Experience presented by Dannon® Oikos® Triple Zero, the league’s largest free football festival taking place along Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Fans may also view Day 3 pick announcements on NFL Draft live platforms – such as, the NFL Mobile from Verizon app (, NFL Now, the NFL app on Xbox One and Windows 10, and Yahoo! Sports – as well as on ESPN. NFL Network will also feature select picks live on NFL Network Draft programming.

Fans can watch NFL Network digitally through Watch NFL Network on tablets, PCs and various connected TV devices (, with participating television providers. Select teams will also live stream local pick announcements on their websites and social media. Get full audio coverage of the 2017 NFL Draft live with Westwood One, TuneIn, and SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Guest Post: 5 Sleepers To Watch This Draft Season

FB-PicMatt Phillips is the UK’s premier voice on the the NFL Draft. As the founder of 40 Yards Scouting, and, the 4th edition of Europe’s only scouting guide to the 2017 NFL Draft was published earlier this month. Every eligible draft prospect has been individually scouted, and all proceeds go to Muscular Dystrophy UK.

download @mattphillips78

Zach Johnson/Guard, North Dakota State

Yet another well coached and technically sound offensive line talent to have graduated from Fargo, North Dakota whose high level of play yet again this season saw him rightly named to the FCS AllAmerican team by his opposing coaches. A tough, physically strong lineman who will shift inside from his college tackle spot, who will excel in the ‘phone booth’, best suited for a power-based scheme at the next level. While his lack of quickness and ability to move freely up and down the offensive line mean that he cannot remain on the exterior, the former Bison plays with an outstandingly strong anchor and wide base and a nasty, ‘thou shall not pass’ approach that has prevented the cream of defensive line talent in the FCS in being able to move him off his spot. Be sure to see him slot into an NFL offensive line right away and be an important cog on Sundays.

Matt Dayes/Running Back, North Dakota State

Few in what is an outstandingly deep and talented class at the position, can match the former Wolfpack rusher’s ability to create his own yardage after contact. In fact, Dayes gained an outstanding 47% of his career total after initial contact, one of the most reliable traits in projecting next level traits and future success at the position. The ACC standout runs with impressive leverage, staying close to the ground, keeping his pads low and the strength that belies his smaller stature, with a refusal to go to the ground, needing to be gang tackles to be brought to a halt. He has already proven his durability to carry a heavy load and plays the position with excellent vision and awareness. Continually impressive whenever watching NC State yet again this season who receives very little attention in draft media circles.

Austin Carr/Wide Receiver, Northwestern

The former Wildcat has simply been the finest wide receiver in the Big-Ten this season, a reliable, consistent presence for quarterback Clayton Thorston. Technically impressive, Carr stands out with his innate ability to feel where his passer needs him most and consistently makes himself available. A crisp route runner, the senior exploits soft areas of coverage and gets himself open, breaking off his route and sitting down on a consistent basis. Carr will certainly find a role at the next level and be a trusted presence to keep the chains moving, aided by his glue-like sticky hands.

Caleb Brantley/Defensive Tackle, Florida

Despite being a consistently disruptive thorn in the side of SEC offences once again this season, it is with much surprise that the former Gator is largely being overlooked. It is his explosive burst off the snap and his on-field awareness that continually catch the eye and affected the course of a number of contests thanks to his highly active style of play and relentless competitiveness. Brantley’s burst and explosion off the snap, aligned with his impressive leverage and power allow him to get the edge on his opposite number and when double teamed he simply uses his intelligent hand use to swipe away blocker and spilt them to knife his way into the backfield with impressive quickness. Tough to move from his spot at the point of attack, Brantley is also a reliable force against the run and projects perfectly to playing the 3-technique role inside in a 4-3 front at the next level.

Cameron Sutton/Cornerback, Tennessee

Without his injury struggles during his career, Sutton would be receiving much greater attention in the lead up to the NFL Draft. A hugely competitive, pumped up corner with the swagger that I like to see at such a tough position to succeed, is rarely beaten in both man and zone coverage, deep down the sideline or inside. Limited to just 3 appearances this past season, the former Volunteer bounced back with an impressive week of practice at the Senior Bowl that highlighted his versatility. Additionally, Sutton is a dangerous kick and punt returner, his special teams nous will be hugely attractive as will his versatility that makes him a fit for all thirty two teams at the next level and the size to go with it. The corner is going to fall far below his worth and represents a steal later this month.

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