Pro Football Focus heaps praise on Lions defensive tackle Alim McNeill again

Pro Football Focus really loves Lions defensive tackle Alim McNeill, and they took another opportunity to put praise on him.
Mike Mulholland/GettyImages

Heading into his third NFL season, Detroit Lions defensive tackle Alim McNeill attacked his offseason routine as he eyed a breakout campaign. He cut his body fat, worked on his arsenal of pass rush moves, and he indeed had that breakthrough campaign last season with five sacks and 34 quarterback pressures (according to Pro Football Focus) over 13 games. He stands as an example for a younger teammate based on what his work last season yielded.

McNeill missed four regular season games due to a knee injury that landed him on IR last season, so he could have more in him next season and beyond. On that front, PFF named him their most improved player and "secret superstar" for the Lions after last season. His overall PFF grade was nearly 20 points higher (86.8) in 2023 compared to 2022 (69.8).

If you were to make a list of potential first-time Pro Bowlers for the Lions in 2024, McNeill would probably be No. 1 on it.

PFF continues to heap praise on Alim McNeill

McNeill may not be a secret star, be underappreciated, underrated or fit whatever "he's not very well known" label much longer. But PFF has freshly named one most underrated player for each NFL team, and he was it for the Lions.

"McNeill might have been one of the most improved players of the 2023 season. The former third-round pick went from earning a 69.8 PFF overall grade in his second season to an 86.9 mark in 2023, which ranked seventh among interior defenders. He was one of just six players at the position to earn 75.0-plus run-defense and pass-rush grades last season."

With his third-year breakthrough, McNeill fully became a key cog for the Lions' defensive line. Now, heading toward his fourth season, the next step is to become a well-known name league-wide and be easily mentioned when people talk about the best defensive tackles around.


3 free agent wide receivers the Detroit Lions could still sign. dark. Next. 3 free agent wide receivers the Detroit Lions could still sign