The 2021 NFL Draft will be a great event for teams to start building for their future. Here is the Alim McNeill 2021 NFL Draft Profile.
Alim McNeill Background
Position: Defensive Tackle
Size: 6-foot-2, 320 pounds
2020 stats: 25 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery
McNeill has been a force in the middle for NC State for three season. After a solid college career he has declared for the 2021 NFL Draft.
In high school, McNeill played linebacker and decided to stay in-state to play for NC State. He saw the field immediately and was a Freshman All-American according to 247 Sports after tallying 24 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. His play helped the Wolfpack go 9-4, but the season ended in a loss to Texas A&M in the Gator Bowl. His play improved in his sophomore year, as he registered 28 total tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. Unfortunately NC State’s record dipped to 4-8 that year, despite McNeill’s solid play. For the 2020 season, McNeill had 25 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and one sack. The Wolfpack won eight games for the season, but lost to Kentucky in the Gator Bowl to end the year.
Following a good college career, McNeill decided to forgo his remaining eligibility and enter the draft. He is currently projected to be a second to fourth round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
McNeill has good size and power for an interior defensive lineman. He stands at 6-foot-2 and 320 pounds, which is good for a defensive tackle or a nose tackle. His best fit is as a nose tackle in a three-man defensive line. His size and strength allow him to take on multiple blockers at a time and still sometimes make the play.
For his size, McNeill has great athleticism. He has good burst at the snap of the ball, which gets him off to a good start to the play. McNeil has good flexibility, body control and shows some explosiveness. He will be able to be disruptive because of his athleticism.
Nose tackles aren’t usually supposed to have good sack numbers, but McNeill did a great job getting after the quarterback. In three seasons, he had 10 sacks. McNeill specializes in bull rushing the center and pushing the pocket, which throws off a whole play for an offense. His success over multiple seasons as a pass rusher will make him a more appealing prospect.
His length is not the greatest for a defensive lineman. He will struggle against offensive linemen who have longer arms. It makes it hard for him to disengage at times. McNeill can push opponents backwards, but he doesn’t regularly free himself from blocks because of his shorter arms.
McNeill will need to add more pass-rushing moves to be a bigger threat in the NFL. He relies too much on bull rushes right now, but when that is stopped, he doesn’t have any moves or counters that are effective. His pass rushing effectiveness could be stalled if he doesn’t add more moves.
He could be more aware as a defender. At times, McNeill can be surprised by where blockers are attacking him from. He also loses sight of the ball against the run, which allows some big gains. Studying how offensive linemen are blocking him and where plays are going will greatly help him at the next level.
Projected Draft Range: Second Round Pick-Third Round Pick
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