NFL Draft 2021: Detroit Lions select Alim McNeill No. 72 overall

Alim McNeill #29 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Alim McNeill #29 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

The rebuild is in full construction mode for the Detroit Lions. That following the team’s first-round selection of Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell with the seventh overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday night.

On Friday night, the Lions entered day two of the draft possessing three selections in the top 101 picks. The first of their trio of draft selections was in the second round at No. 44. And with that pick, Detroit drafted Washington defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike.

So with their first two picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Lions’ new regime elected to kick off their rebuild by focusing on the trenches. The 20-year Sewell has now been added to the depth chart in Detroit and will join left tackle Taylor Decker and center Frank Ragnow to form one of the most talented and youngest offensive lines in the league.

Onwuzurike helps to strengthen a defensive line that upgraded this offseason when the Lions traded with the Los Angeles Rams for veteran defensive tackle Michael Brockers. Combined with defensive ends Trey Flowers and Romeo Okwara, and Detroit suddenly looks much improved in the trenches.

And with their first of two draft selections in the third round, the Lions again addressed the interior of their defensive line by picking NC State defensive tackle Alim McNeill with the 72nd overall selection.

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At 6-foot-1, 317-pounds, McNeill is yet another college nose tackle the Lions have added to their roster in back-to-back selections. A two-year starter at NC State racked up 25 combined tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss, one sack, one pick-six, a forced fumble, and one recovery in 13 games as a junior in 2020.