6'3'' / 210 lbs
Melifonwu recorded 33 tackles, three sacks, eight pass breakups, two interceptions and one forced fumble over 17 games in 2023.
Seeing extended playing time just twice in the first 12 games of the season, Melifonwu ended the year with a bang after being pushed into a large role for a second time in Week 14. From that point on, the Syracuse product did enough to finish the season tied for second among safeties in sacks and top 20 in passes defended despite seeing more than seven percent of the defensive snaps in just seven of 17 games. Melifonwu then finished third among all players in sacks (two) and 11th in tackles (16) during the postseason. Now entering the final year of his rookie contract, the 2021 third-rounder seems headed for a big role in 2024 regardless of any additions the Lions could make to the secondary this offseason.
Weekly Stats 2022Stats not available
Performance Splits 2020 to 2022Stats not available
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Melifonwu had three solo tackles and an interception in Saturday's 20-19 loss to the Cowboys.
Melifonwu's interception came on the Cowboys' first possession of the game when picked off Dak Prescott on a pass intended for CeeDee Lamb and returned it for 24 yards. It's the second straight game Melifonwu has registered an INT and the third time in four contests that he's registered at least 61 snaps on defense. He's been the starting strong safety the past four games, however his snap count drop if C.J. Gardner-Johnson (pectoral) returns from IR.
Melifonwu totaled five tackles with two sacks and two pass breakups with one interception during Sunday's win over the Vikings.
Logging at least 98 percent of the defensive snaps for the third straight game, Melifonwu put together another impressive stat line with no component more important than the game-sealing interception he snagged with little time left in regulation. However, his pass-rushing prowess has also been impressive considering Melifonwu went from zero sacks a couple of weeks ago to being tied for third among safeties with three sacks in his last two games. The 2021 third-round pick will look to keep rolling in a Week 17 showdown with the Cowboys.
Melifonwu registered nine tackles (six solo), including a sack, two pass deflections, and a forced fumble in Detroit's 42-17 win versus Denver on Saturday.
Melifonwu had a dominant outing Sunday, finishing with a new season-high for tackles and also logged the first full sack of his career. The 24-year-old has now compiled 20 tackles (13 solo) in 14 appearances this season.
Melifonwu (hand) is active Sunday against the Bears.
Melifonwu dealt with a hand injury throughout the week, but he was able to log back-to-back full practices Thursday and Friday and will now be good to take the field Sunday.
Melifonwu will start Sunday against the Falcons, Kyle Meinke of MLive.com reports.
The third-year pro is getting the nod with starting safeties Kerby Joseph (hip) and C.J. Gardner-Johnson (pectoral) out with injuries. Melifonwu, a 2021 third-round pick, started five games over his first two seasons and recorded 29 tackles.
Melifonwu stood out at safety during recent minicamp practices, John Maakaron of Sports Illustrated reports.
Melifonwu, who began converting from cornerback to safety last season, will need to keep the momentum going into training camp in order to claim a role behind Tracy Walker and Kerby Joseph.