The Detroit Lions have changed the look of their defensive line over the last few years with the goal of improving it, and a couple of young players may be showing why they have the inside track at getting that done.
Detroit faced off against the Buffalo Bills on Friday, August 13, and while they may not have won the game, it was a strong effort from the team from start to finish on the night. Some standout players surfaced at multiple different spots, but up front, a player who has been a focal point during training camp showed up in a major way for the Lions.
As was pointed out in a video clip posted by Josh Cohen, the Lions got a great rep out of Alim McNeill and Jashon Cornell. Chris Burke of The Athletic re-tweeted the clip, with the admission that McNeill is likely to be a problem for Detroit’s opponents in 2021.
Here’s a look at the rep which was generating some buzz:
McNeill feels like he is going to be one of the can’t-miss players on Detroit’s roster this season, while Cornell could prove to be an intriguing option as well. Cornell will be suspended for the first three games of the 2021 season, but after that, he could figure in large for the Lions and their new look front.
Finding players that can fit in seamlessly in Detroit’s new defense is a huge goal, and in McNeill and Cornell, the Lions could have a winning pair for the future.
Alim McNeill Might Make Big Impact for Lions
McNeill has been impressive in practice during training camp, and could be a new stud in the making for Detroit. The Lions have changed a lot about their defense heading toward the 2021 season. Aaron Glenn wants to run a 3-4 look, which means there should be ample opportunities for players to step up in the middle of the line and create a role for themselves. This offseason, the team added Levi Onwuzurike, Michael Brockers and McNeill to the mix up front. They also maintained quality holdovers from 2020 like John Penisini and Nick Williams. Now, the biggest intrigue revolves around who will be able to assert themselves for what role. Given the need for young players to not only push the pocket but clog running lanes, McNeill could have an inside track given his ability to do both of these things impressively for the Lions.
Camp work as well as how McNeill shows in the preseason will tell the tale of where his career leads early this season, but thus far, the early returns seem to be positive for the young lineman in Detroit. That didn’t change once he got in the game.
McNeill’s College Stats and Highlights
Entering his first season in the NFL, McNeill is bringing production with him to the big league. While playing for N.C. State, McNeill collected 77 tackles, 17.5 tackles for-loss, 10 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 5 passes defended. He also scored 1 touchdown in his career. Obviously, those are the type of numbers that point to a guy who can move around and make a lot of plays along a front, which is just what he will be asked to do with the Lions and their very needy defensive line no matter what role he plays.
Here’s a look at some highlights of McNeill:
The Lions are hoping the athleticism that is shown in these clips shines through to help him become a star at the next level. With his play and his positive mindset showing through, it’s more than possible that can become the case in the end.
Many might not be that surprised if it ends up happening for McNeill quickly in Detroit, and getting this experience for both he and Cornell is a huge positive for the team.