DT Alim McNeill, North Carolina St.* (6’2”, 320)

Background:

Played inside linebacker in high school. Has been a major contributor since his first season in school, posting a 24-5.5-3.5 line as a freshman, then following that up with campaigns of 28-7.5-5.5 and 25-4.5-1.0 as a sophomore and junior before declaring for the draft.

Positives:

Productive in each of his three seasons at school, adding bulk and strength each year. Has a very thick, powerful build which is perfect for a pro nose tackle. Often lined up as the zero technique, particularly when the team went with an odd front. Flashes the ability to fire out low and use his quickness and a swim move to threaten gaps; didn’t really produce as a pass-rusher this past year but was harder to deal with than his sack total indicates. Active with his hands to keep defenders from locking on. Gets extension and shows heavy hands to control and discard blockers in time. Able to dig in at the line and make tackles while engaged. Rangier when flowing horizontally than you’d think based on his size; surprisingly fast and will chase opposing backs out toward the sidelines.

Negatives:

Length may be a little bit on the lower end. Rotates out of the defense often, at times even when the team goes with three down linemen in short-yardage situations. Would like to see him play with a little bit more discipline against stretch runs; tends to flow too far down the line and take himself out of the play. Pad level is inconsistent; will get too high out of the snap at times and end up idling around the line of scrimmage. Could do a better job of keeping his shoulders square when flowing. Lacks positional versatility; looks like a pure nose tackle, although perhaps teams could give him a try in a one-gap scheme too.

Summary:

A player who has excellent bulk for a two-gap nose tackle, but whose game is actually a little bit more explosive, with some ability to use quickness at the line to penetrate and disrupt rushing attempts in the backfield, along with surprising range. However, still needs to improve his discipline and technique in order to be as effective against the run as his build and functional strength can make him.

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