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First corner off draft board? Max Melton has high hopes for pro future ahead of 2024 NFL Draft

Max Melton is set to become another Rutgers defensive back drafted into the NFL. – Photo by Ariel Fox /

Like most freshmen, former defensive back Max Melton came to the Rutgers football team with little maturity, but his time in Piscataway was crucial to his growth.

"Being under (head coach) Greg Schiano, it's a tight ship over here," Melton said at his Pro Day last month. "It's not easy to play for Schiano or in this game or for this culture. You have to be more than just a football player. You have to be a great person also. So I feel like that really made me into the man I am today."

After a four-year career on the Banks, Melton will look to follow in the footsteps of some great defensive backs who were Scarlet Knights and further his football career in the NFL. Melton knows one of the best things available to him is the long line of networking surrounding the program's alumni.

“When you have Super Bowl champions like the McCourty twins ... It's great to use them as a resource, pick their brains, get a lot of advice from them," Melton said.

In his first season at Rutgers, Melton was most commonly associated with his older brother, Bo Melton, who played with the Scarlet Knights from 2017 to 2021. But, as the older brother looked to go pro, the younger brother, Max, made a name for himself outside of a family connection.

Melton, who started at cornerback 40 times in 43 games throughout his collegiate career, broke out in his last three seasons at Rutgers.

From 2021-2023, Melton totaled 90 tackles, eight interceptions, 21 passes defended and three fumble recoveries, showcasing his elite talent in the secondary that raised the eyebrows of NFL scouts.

So, what about Melton stands out?

"I'm the most versatile player in the draft. I don't only show up on defense," Melton said. "I show up on special teams too, so I think I'm the most valuable player in the draft."

The excitement around the Mays Landing, New Jersey, kid has grown after impressing the football world at the NFL Combine last month. Melton ran a time of 4.39 seconds in the 40-yard dash, leaped for 11 feet and 4 inches in the broad jump and sprung for 40.5 inches in the vertical jump.

Additionally, Melton has appeared on Good Morning Football, an NFL talk show that breaks down the league's biggest headlines and interviews the game's current and rising talent. The hype among the media generated toward Melton has been exciting for the young cornerback.

"I like to think I was underrated even coming out of high school — even in college," Melton said. "To get that exposure now is great. I'm trying to maximize it to the best I can."

Melton's play has garnered the attention of Schiano, who spent a brief time as a head coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL. Schiano has witnessed the growth of multiple talented and successful defensive backs in the pros and believes Melton has all of the tools to find the same prosperity.

"He's very fast. He's very explosive," Schiano said. "I think he's made improvement, really, in every area of his game, and I think he's grown up. He came here (as) a little college freshman, and he's leaving here a grown man who was a real trustworthy member of our squad."

Now, the Melton family will have their eyes locked on their television screens this Thursday when the 2024 NFL Draft begins. Melton is projected to be selected in either the second or third round of the draft, but he has even bigger aspirations come Thursday.

"I feel like I should be the first corner off the board," Melton said.

For more updates on the Rutgers football team, follow @TargumSports on X.

To view more of Josh Meyers' work, follow @JoshCMeyers on X.

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