The NY Jets are starting to meet with 2021 NFL Draft prospects as we inch closer to the three-day event in late April. And the latest name to be added to that list is NC State defensive lineman Alim McNeill.
Justin Melo of The Draft Network reported on Sunday that the Jets were one of a handful of teams that McNeill has already met with via Zoom/phone. Along with the Jets, he has also met with the Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks, Indianapolis Colts, and Jacksonville Jaguars.
This comes a day after Melo reported that the likes of LSU safety JaCoby Stevens and West Virginia defensive lineman Darius Stills had virtually met with the Jets as well.
McNeill is now the third known draft prospect to have met with the Jets thus far. There will surely be plenty more as the days and weeks go by.
Could Alim McNeill be a mid-round target for the NY Jets?
McNeill is widely seen as a potential Day 2 or 3 prospect in the upcoming draft. At 6-foot-2, 315 pounds, McNeill is a powerful interior lineman who is best fit as either a 3-4 nose tackle or a 4-3 one-technique defensive tackle.
With the Jets switching to a base 4-3 under new head coach Robert Saleh, it’s likely that McNeill would fill the latter role with the team.
Interestingly enough, McNeill played linebacker and running back in high school before making the switch over to the defensive line in college. And with only three years of experience at the position, he’s understandably a little raw.
But where McNeill does excel is as a stout run defender with his functional strength and deceptive agility. He remains raw as a pass-rusher and will need time to develop additional pass-rush moves, but he should make an instant impact as a strong run defender.
McNeill was named first-team All-ACC and second-team All-American in 2020 after a standout junior season that saw him emerge as one of the country’s top interior defensive linemen.
Given the presence of Folorunso Fatukasi who will likely fill that 4-3 one-technique role, McNeill wouldn’t be expected to start. But he could slot in as Fatukasi’s primary backup and provide additional defensive line depth.
The Jets have bigger needs to address, but if they could land McNeill early on Day 3, he might be someone they consider taking.
It’s still very early in the draft process, but McNeill might be a player for fans to keep an eye on.