Dallas Cowboys Draft: 7 defensive tackle prospects in 7 different rounds

Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports
Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports /
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Alim McNeil, DT, NC State Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Alim McNeil, DT, NC State Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

Alim McNeil, NC State

Value: Slight Reach

A few months ago I had McNeill as a fourth round selection. A week before the draft and he’s apparently the third interior defensive lineman off the board. Good athletic ability and competitive toughness will eventually reward itself even in a weak class and while showcasing adequate production.

Alim McNeill is a 6-foot-2, 315 pound beast of nature that likely is a great fit in Dan Quinn’s 1-gapping system. He displays good upfield burst off the LOS with good explosiveness, competitive toughness, motor, and instincts. All defensive line positions require some level of projection making athletic ability more important in the evaluation of line players than other positions.

That said, the former interior defensive lineman for the Wolfpack is more of an athlete currently than he is a football player. He displays a bull rush and a speed/counter rush utilizing his bend and solid lateral quickness but he doesn’t display too much understanding on when to use them or how to use them.

He is a solid run defender displaying good lower body strength to leverage gaps but he is inconsistent at reading and reacting to the running back prevents him from disengaging from his blocker in order to tackle the ball carrier.

While his game is currently underdeveloped, in 36 games he still posted 77 total tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, and ten sacks in 36 games with NC State. McNeill might be the perfect prospect to take in the third round, but as it currently stands pick 44 would be incredibly rich. Rich like a Lindt Chocolate if you will.