The Las Vegas Raiders will need help along their defensive line regardless of this season’s outcome. Maybe defensive lineman Alim McNeill from North Carolina State could help out.
Something has to be about about the Raiders defense this offseason. Turnover with their defensive coaching staff would certainly appease many in Raider Nation. However, the most pressing issue needs to be the lack of pass rush from their defensive line. Maxx Crosby’s numbers have taken a dip in his sophomore campaign, though this could be due to coordinators zeroing in on him.
Either way, 15 sacks as a team in 2020 is egregious. Take a look at their free-agency pickups for a better understanding. Defensive end Carl Nassib, well, he’s totaled just one and a half sacks. Defensive tackle Maliek Collins, hailed as a great signing, has been one of the worst graded interior linemen by Pro Football Focus. Maybe Raiders brass needs to address their defensive line early at next year’s NFL drafty. McNeill could definitely be worth a look, he’d certainly be an upgrade over Collins at this point.
What could McNeill bring to the table for the Raiders?
Standing at six-foot-two and weighing 320 pounds, McNeill’s the interior presence the Raiders need. If the Silver and Black could bring could bring consistent pressure from the middle, this would in theory, help Crosby and Clelin Ferrell to run wild. Johnathan Hankins, who has emerged as one of the best run-stuffers, needs help assuming he returns. Also, McNeill could be available in the second round, meaning the Raiders could address safety or EDGE with their first-round pick.
“He’s pretty slippery through gaps and his blend of burst, flexibility and functional strength enables him to clear contact and disrupt. Has a sufficient anchor to hold up against single blocks and he competes against doubles.”Joe Marino of The Draft Network
McNeill’s ability to burst through the middle with his combination of speed and strength is sorely missing. PFF grades him 90.7 overall as a defender, his run-defense stands out at 92.1 obviously. Be that as it may, McNeill’s pass-rush grade is at 77.5 so that’s solid as well. All things considered, when you consider McNeill’s intangibles such as size, strength, and potential, a second round pick would definitely be worth it.
*Top Photo: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports