Obi Melifonwu was viewed by the Raiders as their answer to containing the league’s top tight ends like the Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski when they drafted Melifonwu in the second round of the 2017 draft.
A year later, the safety’s name was at the bottom of a Raiders news release listed as a corresponding move.
The Raiders waived/injured Melifonwu to make room for cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who officially signed with the team Thursday.
Melifonwu will be available for other teams on waivers. If he goes unclaimed, Melifonwu will be on the Raiders’ injured reserve list. The team can release him when he’s healthy.
Melifonwu, the 56th overall pick from the University of Connecticut, appeared in only five games and made one start during his rookie year. He spent 10 weeks on injured reserve with a knee and hip injury.
It’s rare when a team gives up on a second-round pick this soon, but it became clear early in training camp his roster spot wasn’t safe. Melifonwu was one of eight safeties on the Raiders’ roster during training camp in Napa, California.