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Detroit Lions activate rookie CB Ifeatu Melifonwu

The Lions’ third-round pick is back!

San Francisco 49ers v Detroit Lions Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions announced on Monday afternoon that rookie cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu has been activated from injured reserve and is now part of the 53-man roster and eligible to play. The Lions had an open spot on the 53-man roster after placing nickel corner AJ Parker on injured reserve last week.

Melifonwu was placed on IR after suffering a thigh injury in Week 2 against the Green Bay Packers, leaving the Lions quite thin at cornerback after 2020 first-round pick Jeff Okudah suffered a torn Achilles in the season opener against the San Francisco 49ers.

Melifonwu, a third-round pick this year, made his first career start in that Packers game and recorded a pass defended, two tackles and a PFF grade of 58.6 in that game before leaving with an injury.

The rookie cornerback has been practicing with the team for the past three weeks, but it’s uncertain if he’s quite ready to join the starting lineup again. This week, his 21-day evaluation window was set to expire, meaning the Lions either had to decide to place him on season-ending injured reserve or activate him to the 53-man roster. His activation is a good sign he’ll play again before the season is out.

In his place, undrafted rookie Jerry Jacobs has started opposite Amani Oruwariye at outside corner. Jacobs has done a decent job at holding down the fort, so it will be interesting to see what the Lions choose to do with Melifonwu once he’s healthy enough to go. The Lions coaching staff has mentioned Jacobs’ potential at nickel, and with Parker out for at least two more games, there’s a vacancy there.

In addition to activating Melifonwu, the Lions also re-signed cornerback Parnell Motley to the practice squad.