It’s been no secret that the Las Vegas Raiders badly need new and more talented faces at defensive tackle.
Their collection of players they had last year such as Maliek Collins and Johnathan Hankins simply weren’t able to get the job done.
They have the opportunity at No. 17 overall to select a prospect like Alabama’s Christian Barmore, but they could do even more than that.
That’s where North Carolina State defensive tackle Alim McNeill could come into play potentially in the second round.
A load of a nose tackle at 6-2 and 320 pounds, McNeill actually possesses surprising quickness that creates problems for an offensive lineman.
That combination allowed him to be rated as the third-best defensive lineman in college football last season by Pro Football Focus (PFF). That was fueled by having the best run-stuffing ability of any lineman in college football.
PFF gave McNeill a 92.1 run defense grade in 2020, showing that he already has the chops to be a premiere run-stuffer in the NFL. The question is if he can also bring that same effectiveness as a pass rusher.
McNeill's profile makes him out to be more of a prototypical two-down run defender. He did earn a respectable 77.5 pass-rush grade from PFF though, and also had 5.5 sacks in his sophomore season.
He doesn’t yet have much in terms of pass rush moves, but he has the strength to push the pocket.
Even if McNeill ends up being a classic nose tackle, it isn’t as if he won’t have a long career.
Players like Damon “Snacks” Harrison earned plenty of praise in their careers just by being excellent at stopping the run.
For a Raiders defense that ranked 24th in rushing defense, they could use that kind of talent.
And if McNeill were to develop into a plus pass rusher, it would be the icing on the cake.
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