The New England Patriots bolstered their special teams unit with two additions this week.
Melifonwu was a former Oakland Raiders second-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Melifonwu was cut by the Raiders in August due to injuries to his knee and hip.
In his lone season with the Raiders, he played five games and started one. In his five games, Melifonwu recorded six total tackles. Melifonwu was on and off the IR during his short time with the Raiders.
Melifonwu will add to the Patriots defensive back depth that includes Devin McCourty, Jason McCourty, Stephon Gilmore, Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon, and Nate Ebner. He was called a “genetic freak” by NFL Network’s Mike Mayock prior to the 2017 NFL Draft. Melifonwu will add more speed and athleticism to this secondary and will also look to help in special team situations.
At the combine, Melifonwu ran a 4.4 40 yard dash which ranked 8th at the combine in 2017. He also ranked 1st in both the vertical (44″) and the broad jump (141″).
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McClellan was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Baltimore Ravens in 2011. He was with the team until last week, but following the addition of Ty Montgomery, he was cut on Oct. 30th.
McClellan is a polished veteran and has been a special teamer for the Ravens. He will continue to do with the Patriots as well. McClellan’s best year came in 2014 where he was voted to the Pro Football Focus 1st team as a special teamer.
McClellan has started in 24 of his 96 games played, adding 147 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, and 12 tackles for a loss. McClellan will join an already strong special team unit for the Patriots.
These two moves will look to help the Patriots special teams unit. If Melifonwu can stay healthy and McClellan’s leadership shows on and off the field, it will expand on an already strong roster.
To make room for the new players, New England released offensive lineman Cole Cranston and defensive lineman Geneo Grissom.