Ifeatu Melifonwu

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/22/21

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Dallas Cowboys

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: LB Keanu Neal; as a high-risk close contact, per The Athletic’s Jon Machota (on Twitter), Neal can return after a five-day isolation period

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

Tennessee Titans

Lions Place Ifeatu Melifonwu On IR

The Lions have placed cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu on the injured reserve list (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). To take his place, they’ve promoted fellow corner Daryl Worley from the practice squad to the active roster. 

Melifonwu will need at least a few weeks to recover from the thigh injury he suffered on Monday night. Lions head coach Dan Campbell isn’t exactly sure when he’ll return, but he did tell reporters that the rookie will be out for a “significant amount of time.” It’s a bad blow for Detroit — the third-rounder out of Syracuse was enjoying a strong start to his pro career. He notched a fumble recovery in his Week 1 debut and earned a start in Week 2 against the Packers.

Of course, the Lions were already without Jeff Okudah, who has been ruled out for the season. Amani Oruwariye will remain the starter at one of the cornerback spots, likely with help from former undrafted safety Bobby Price.

Worley should factor into the banged-up secondary as well, especially since he has 54 career starts to his credit. Still only 26, Worley’s resume includes five interceptions and 37 passes defensed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions CB Ifeatu Melifonwu To Miss “Significant Amount Of Time”

A key Lions rookie will be sidelined for the foreseeable future. Cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu suffered a significant thigh injury during Monday’s loss to the Packers, reports Tim Twentyman of the team’s website (via Twitter).

Lions head coach Dan Campbell told reporters that Melifonwu will be out of the lineup for a “significant amount of time,” and the rookie is expected to need at least a few weeks to recover. The injury occurred in the second half of last night’s contest, with Melifonwu suffering the injury on a 50-yard grab by Davante Adams.

Following a standout career at Syracuse, Melifonwu was selected in the third round of this past year’s draft. The 6-foot-3 defensive back had a fumble recovery during his NFL debut in Week 1, and he ended up earning his first career start in Week 2. The 22-year-old saw time on 30 defensive snaps last night, collecting a pair of tackles and defending one pass.

The Lions were already scrambling for cornerback depth; Melifonwu only got the start because Jeff Okudah suffered a season-ending injury. Amani Oruwariye remains the starter at one of the cornerback spots, with former undrafted safety Bobby Price appearing to be the next man in line.

Jets Notes: Mosley, Draft Plans, Hoyer

The Jets reportedly received trade calls on linebacker C.J. Mosley this offseason, and Rich Cimini of ESPN.com says Mosley remains a trade candidate. As Randy Lange of the team’s official website writes, new head coach Robert Saleh recently offered high praise for Mosley, calling him a tremendous leader and player. Saleh also said Mosley is good enough to thrive in any system, including the 4-3 scheme that Saleh plans to implement (Mosley has not played in a 4-3 since he turned pro).

But New York did sign Jarrad Davis in free agency, and the team has been speculatively linked to high-end linebackers in the draft, like Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. If GM Joe Douglas does select an LB with a Day 1 or Day 2 choice, that could make a Mosley trade more likely (though obviously the return on such a trade would be minimal given Mosley’s contract and the fact that he has played all of two games in the last two years).

Now for more notes on the Jets:

  • Although Gang Green is going to select QB Zach Wilson with the No. 2 overall pick, there is plenty of uncertainty as to what the club will do with the No. 23 overall selection. Cimini believes the team will ultimately go with a player to help Wilson, whether that’s an offensive lineman or a wide receiver. If that’s how Douglas is leaning, he might need to trade up to get the prospect he wants, and Connor Hughes of The Athletic tweets that Douglas has already done the “groundwork” on a potential move up the board.
  • Cornerback also profiles as a major need for the Jets, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them use the No. 23 pick or another early selection on a CB. According to Cimini, the club is intrigued by Syracuse corner Ifeatu Melifonwu, who looks like a second- or third-round talent. If the team doesn’t get a slot corner at some point in the draft, Hughes says the team could look to re-sign Brian Poole, whose 2020 season was cut short by injury but who has played well in his two seasons in the Meadowlands.
  • If the Jets don’t go with an offensive lineman with their second first-round choice, Hughes expects them to grab one with the No. 34 pick, and he also thinks they could pick up another blocker with one of their two third-round selections.
  • New York brought in veteran QB Brian Hoyer for a visit earlier this month, and he looks like an ideal backup/mentor for Wilson. Hughes reports that the team is likely to commence contract talks with the 35-year-old signal-caller after the draft.