According to The Draft Network’s Justin Melo, the Indianapolis Colts are among the NFL teams that have met virtually with North Carolina State defensive tackle Alim McNeill ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft:
The 6’2”, 320 pound junior defensive tackle recorded 26 tackles (6 solo), 4.5 tackles for loss, a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and an interception (for a touchdown) during 11 starts in 2020—earning AP 2nd-Team All-American and First-Team All-ACC honors respectively.
McNeill was previously named #32 on The Athletic Bruce Feldman’s ‘2020 college football freaks list’ (subscription)—featuring freakish athleticism at his sheer size:
32. Alim McNeill, NC State, defensive tackle
Freakiest attribute: Explosive strength
Thanks to some smart evaluations and the efforts of Wolfpack strength coach Dantonio Burnette, aka Coach Thunder, State has produced a bunch of Freak D-linemen of late. Meet the next one, a powerhouse 326-pound former four-star recruit who had 28 tackles, 7.5 TFLs and 5.5 sacks last year. McNeill, despite his massive size, vertical jumped 32 inches. Don’t be surprised if the junior runs in the 4.9s by the time he’s ready for the NFL combine. He also benches 445 pounds and squats 640.
Here’s what else they’re saying on McNeill:
Getting caught up on DL film and whoa buddy, Alim McNeill is good. NC State junior (declared) is squatty at 6'2, 320 but he's so quick. Shoots into gaps. But he's also showing strength to hold anchor vs. run.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) January 7, 2021
Round 2 grade for me.
This is a big one. McNeill is a star. Can’t wait to dive in deeper on his film. https://t.co/t64xlwCi8y— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) December 5, 2020
Highest-graded P5 DTs— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) December 4, 2020
1. Alim McNeill, NC State - 90.6
2. Ta'Quon Graham, Texas - 83.7
3. Dante Stills, WVU - 80.8
4. Christian Barmore, Alabama - 80.3
Promo code CYBER40 to save 40% off ANY PFF subscription
NC State DT Alim McNeill played LB/RB in high school— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) July 23, 2020
He's listed a 6'2 320
He's #29 - these highlights at Sanderson HS are hilarious... Also a standout baseball player. Incredible athlete.
7.5 TFLs & 5.5 sacks last year. Recently featured on @BruceFeldmanCFB Freak List pic.twitter.com/3uarx55cx8
Alim McNeill (@AlimMcneill) dominated as a 0-technique this past season. 5.5 sacks and the ability to win against double teams at his age is almost unheard of. Also can play the 3-technique. His versatility across the defensive line is hard to find. #NFLDraft #DraftTwitter pic.twitter.com/34F8eLd68P— Jack Borowsky (@Jack_Borowsky) June 3, 2020
Alim McNeill was a RB/LB in high school, now he’s a plug in the middle at around 335 lbs. A monster against the run and a disruption in the backfield with great awareness and athleticism #NameToKnow pic.twitter.com/ee2iiddpRb— #BounceBeatBaby (@NFLMaliik) October 11, 2020
NC State DT Alim McNeill declared. No surprise. Nimble for his size. Played well out of the gate/never looked back. Had offers from Michigan, Clemson & Florida but wanted to stay home. Weight room guy. Tough. No known off-field/injury concerns. A 260-pound MLB/goal line RB in HS.— Jesse Fritsch (@FritschJesse) December 5, 2020
A prospect to keep an eye on Saturday night is #NCState DL Alim McNeill against VT.— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) September 25, 2020
Against Wake a week ago: 2 TFLs, 1 FF, disruptive.
+Push and Pull, plus TFL
+Controls matchup at POA
+Heavy hands, moves well for size.
Was on @BruceFeldmanCFB's freak list this summer. pic.twitter.com/2xdMBT1XIQ
Hello Alim McNeill! He’s got some serious grown man strength. pic.twitter.com/50mg3O8N3M— Dante Collinelli (@DanteCollinelli) February 2, 2021
The Colts don’t have a current starting opening at defensive tackle with breakout nose stud Grover Stewart having signed a 3-year, $30.75 million extension during this past season, and All-Pro defensive tackle DeForest Buckner anchoring the adjacent three-technique spot.
However, McNeill has tantalizing physical traits given his massive size and was highly productive for the Wolfpack. It makes sense that the Colts, and specifically, general manager Chris Ballard—who loves toolsy defensive linemen—has already taken notice and interest.
After all, Ballard preaches ‘winning in the trenches’, and McNeill is an insanely athletic interior defensive line prospect—with the ability to play both tackle spots.