Detroit Lions’ Alim McNeill Anticipated to Augment Contributions, Potentially Even as a Fullback

ALLEN PARK — Alim McNeill, the Detroit Lions’ formidable defensive lineman, didn’t hesitate when asked about his vision for the team starting in September.

“Perfect season. We won the Super Bowl, celebrating here in Detroit in the city. That’s what I see when I close my eyes, when I go to work out, when I go run, when I’m at practice working on different moves,” McNeill stated on Thursday. “That’s what we are all thinking about, that’s what I’m thinking about. Everybody has the same attitude here, we just want to win. Whatever we can do to win.”

The Lions are moving forward from their NFC Championship loss to the 49ers. It’s time to leave the past behind and focus on the future with full force.

McNeill’s aspirational words must resonate with coach Dan Campbell, whose message at the conclusion of the three-day mandatory minicamp was clear: remember the ultimate goal.

“Each individual, what do you want out of this year? What do you want to look like when we’re sitting here and it’s February? Where is your mind? Think about that and let’s work backward from there, that’s the message,” Campbell emphasized.

When asked about his own aspirations, Campbell was candid: “You know what I want, I want the whole enchilada.”

Entering his fourth season, McNeill is expected to be a crucial part of the defensive line, partnering with veteran D.J. Reader, who is in his first season with the Lions.

“In my head it looks like destruction. There’s no other way I can see it. Every time I close my eyes and visualize, I just see destruction,” McNeill shared. “I’ve been watching D.J. since I was younger.”

Although Reader is currently sidelined with an injury, he is anticipated to be ready for training camp. Even from the sidelines, Reader is making a significant impact, offering valuable insights.

“It’s a thousand percent better with him on the sidelines, giving suggestions,” McNeill said.

Coach Campbell has high expectations for McNeill.

“Mac has so much ability and the way that he is built, with the nimbleness, athleticism, and power he possesses, it’s extraordinary. You don’t see that every day,” Campbell said. “We still feel like there’s more in there. He really took a big step last year. We feel like there’s more in there.”

Terrell Williams, the new defensive line coach, echoed Campbell’s sentiments, believing that McNeill has even more potential to unlock.

Interestingly, McNeill might also find a niche on the offensive side as a fullback. Campbell has floated the idea, though no formal discussions have taken place.

“It’s nothing firm. I have no clue. I hope it is,” said McNeill, who played linebacker and running back in high school before switching to defensive line in college. In his senior year, he had 20 carries for 63 yards and eight touchdowns. Eight.

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