The Detroit Lions' first three picks in the 2021 NFL Draft were all linemen and all three were well above the athletic baseline for their positions: Penei Sewell’s RAS was 8.98, Levi Onwuzurike RAS was 8.74, and Alim McNeill’s RAS was 8.52 out of 10.
At 6-foot-2 and 317 pounds, McNeill moves in ways he really shouldn’t at that size.
“He seems like a kind of shorter, wider guy, so you’re automatically thinking, ‘OK, he’s your typical two-down anchor nose tackle’,” Lions GM Brad Holmes said of McNeill. “But then you keep watching him and it’s like, ‘Wait, hold up. This dude’s got some quickness that you don’t usually see from a guy this big and this powerful,’ so he was really fun.”
Let’s take a look at some of McNeill’s college highlights, starting with the videos put out by the Lions:
NC State Jr DT Alim McNeill is a fascinating study. The former 4-star has a boxy build, but plays with textbook leverage, powerful get off and always seems to slip and slide his way past blockers. His versatility allows him to play anywhere on the line but I prefer him at nose. pic.twitter.com/vlE7e0Ml0R— cw (@_sonofdathomir) June 28, 2020
These two consecutive reps from NC State iDL, Alim McNeill shows his potential as both a run defender and a developing pass rusher. He's got a very quick and powerful first step that makes him an exciting prospect. pic.twitter.com/rd2VMhUOcX— Nick Lamattina (@lamattina_nick) February 20, 2021
4 snaps in on Alim McNeill and he's disposed of the UNC center to the ground twice already. VERY interesting player pic.twitter.com/eXio39Oa14— Daniel Harms (@D_Harms19) April 18, 2021
Game cut-ups, breakdowns
Clipping the Eagles’ wings
Remember that time the Eagles got cute and traded back from pick No. 70 to No. 73, thinking McNeill would still be on the board only to see the Lions draft McNeill with pick No. 72, leaving the Eagles war room in dismay? Well, in case you forgot...