Detroit Lions cornerback Rashaan Melvin has had two drastically different seasons in the past two years. In 2017, Melvin was a solid outside cornerback with the Indianapolis Colts, making himself a fairly high-priority free agent. He was in talks to return to the Colts for his third year there, but ultimately chose to join the Raiders instead on a one-year, $6.5 million deal.
The results were bad. Very bad. As our own Mansur Shaheen detailed earlier this offseason, Melvin’s play was downright ugly at times, and it resulted in one of Oakland’s biggest free agent signings riding the bench for a portion of the season.
Melvin went public with his displeasure and discomfort in Oakland:
Frustrated and upset. I’m tired of it!— Rashaan Melvin (@Rmelvin30) October 15, 2018
I’m done trying to change my style. It’s not me. Back to what I know and what got me here!! ✌ #22— Rashaan Melvin (@Rmelvin30) October 15, 2018
Now with the Lions and in contention for the starting spot opposite Darius Slay, Melvin is already feeling more comfortable in Detroit.
“Unfortunately (in Oakland) they wanted me to do something I wasn’t as comfortable with,” Melvin said. “I’m here now and it fits me the way I feel like I should be playing.”
The veteran cornerback didn’t go into specifics about what exactly about Detroit fits his skillset better, but he did mention the appeal of a man-to-man scheme was part of the reason he signed with the Lions.
Historically, the Patriots-style defense that Matt Patricia comes from is one of the most man-coverage heavy schemes each year in the NFL. Melvin, himself, briefly made an appearance on a Patriots-style defense, when he spent eight games with New England in 2015—though he only played 49 defensive snaps over that time.
Melvin clearly believes, now back in that scheme, he can get back to the kind of play that earned him high marks from PFF:
New #Raiders cornerback Rashaan Melvin ranked 3rd in 2017 with 23.6% of his targeted passes either defensed or intercepted pic.twitter.com/xzhjlTctmC— PFF OAK Raiders (@PFF_Raiders) July 26, 2018
“Before I signed to Oakland I had large expectations for myself to be the best that I can be. Certain things that expired, and I didn’t live up to the expectations,” Melvin said. “But I’m so fortunate to be here, to be a Detroit Lion, to put my best foot forward, to be able to get back to where I was and being the best player I can be for this team.”