Alim McNeill has enjoyed an eye-opening start to his NFL career with the Detroit Lions, but until Sunday, there was one thing he hadn’t done with the team.
For the first time this season and in his career, McNeill managed to get a sack when he broke through the Denver Broncos’ line and got to Teddy Bridgewater. The play was a solid one for the Lions, who used it to shut off the Denver attack temporarily in the first half of play.
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After the sack, McNeill busted out some very interesting moves, and the dance was a topic of conversation with folks after the game, with McNeill explaining the move was stolen from a former college teammate who used to bust it out to dance in the locker room. As he told the media on December 12 after the game in an interview posted to DetroitLions.com, it was a tribute more than anything.
“Actually, one of my old teammates in college Tyler Jones, who actually used to play for the Broncos, with Bradley Chubb and them, I seen him hit that dane one time in the locker room, beef it up, so ever since then, I was like I’m going to make that my sack dance,” McNeill told the media with a laugh.
Here’s a look at the sack and the dance:
While the dance may have been funny, the sack was no laughing matter and was seriously good football. As McNeill explained, the play was a good combination up front and featured some great recognition from him and his fellow defenders.
“We had a stunt called there and Charles (Harris) was able to get pressure around the edge. Teddy (Bridgewater) stepped up and tried to step around and I was able to hit a move and come through and came up with the sack,” he said.
Lions fans hope they can see more dancing out of McNeill in the future and way more sacks. That would be a huge development for their defensive line.
Bradley Chubb Cheered for McNeill After Sack
Blood can be thicker than water in NFL circles, so it wasn’t a surprise to see another North Carolina State star player supporting McNeill as he transitions to the league and has success. Lining up on the opposite sideline was Bradley Chubb, a former Wolfpack defensive lineman. As Chubb tweeted after the game, he was “low-key” excited to see McNeill come down with his first career sack in Denver.
Chubb exited N.C. State a year before McNeill arrived in 2018, but it’s clear there is still a major bond between a pair of players who had a similar career arc before coming into the league.
McNeill’s College Stats & 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.
Will there be more sack dances in the future? Though McNeill is primarily a plugger in the trenches, it wouldn’t be a surprise.