Detroit Lions Mock Draft 3.0: Trading back in the first round

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Detroit Lions
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With the 112th pick in the NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions select Alim McNeill.

This is a player I’ve hoped the Detroit Lions draft in the middle of this draft since early December.  Alim McNeill is an every-down defensive tackle out of N.C. State that he will need to polish up his pass-rushing skills at the next level but can step in and be an effective run-stopper from day one.

The Detroit Lions need to bolster their defensive front, and Holmes acknowledged that by trading for Michael Brockers for a future late draft choice.  The Rams are in cap hell and needed to clear space, and before just cutting, Brockers called an old friend in Brad Holmes, and the Lions GM wisely obliged.

The defensive tackle position is quite thin after the organization parted ways with veteran Danny Shelton.  Pairing a player like McNeill inside with Brockers will allow the talented defensive ends and edge rushers the ability to feast on the outside.

Over the past two seasons, the Detroit Lions have struggled to generate any type of interior push after Damon Harrison saw success in his first year with the club.  After that, he all but quit on the Lions, and Bob Quinn tried to add some push inside by signing veteran Mike Daniels and Nick Williams.

Williams remains on the active roster and projects to be a nice rotational interior lineman, especially on third down.  The Detroit Lions saw rookie John Penisini excel as the year wore on, and as it stands now, he’s the favorite to see his fair share of opportunities as the early-down defensive tackle in 2021.

McNeill stands a stout 6-foot-2, 320-pounds and will provide the Lions with a dynamic talent inside. McNeill, who transitioned from a middle linebacker in high school to a stud tackle in college, brings plenty of versatility to the lineup having the ability to play as a nose tackle (one-technique) in a 3-4 defensive front or a three-technique as defensive tackle he has plenty to offer.

NFL teams salivate over a player who can do various things, and in today’s league, defenses run multiple base and hybrid formations; McNeill is useful in any alignment.

In three seasons with the Wolfpack, McNeill recorded 77 tackles, 17.5 of which were for a loss plus ten sacks and an interception while appearing in 32 games.

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Notable players available: Kendrick Green, Jordan Smith, Rhamondre Stevenson, Frank Darby, Aaron Banks, and Dylan Moses.