The Raiders surprised many today by letting go of an early-round draft pick.
Raiders part ways with 2017 second-rounder Obi Melifonwu https://t.co/hgs0Zr8thI— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) August 23, 2018
Though the Raiders giving up on such a young player with tons of potential raised some eyebrows, their decision was not without reason. Melifonwu has struggled with the injury bug throughout his time in the league, starting just one game last season and appearing in just five overall. He dealt with hip and knee problems that placed him on the IR during his first season in the NFL.
However, injuries may have only been on-the-surface issues. Apparently, Melifonwu did not express the heart or toughness that several teams desired when meeting with him.
Obi Melifonwu seemed like a nice young man when I sat down with him before the draft. Phenomenal athlete, too.— Eric Edholm (@Eric_Edholm) August 23, 2018
But a handful of teams meeting with him never could figure out what his best position was or whether he loved football (or had requisite toughness).
Some also think that waiving Melifonwu had something to do with head coach Jon Gruden's own plan for the Raiders going forward.
After all, Gruden wasn't with the team when Oakland took Melifonwu in the draft. Let's not forget the team also signed Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie today. A veteran defensive back who could help this young defense out.
Now, Melifonwu will try and see if another team will give him a shot.