Dallas Cowboys 2021 draft: 4 day two targets to consider

Syracuse Orange defensive back Ifeatu Melifonwu (23) (Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse Orange defensive back Ifeatu Melifonwu (23) (Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Alim McNeill, Dallas Cowboys
North Carolina State Wolfpack defensive tackle Alim McNeill (29) (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) /

Alim McNeill, DT  – NC State

For years, the Cowboys have invested high draft selections into the defensive tackle position. Last year, Dallas drafted Oklahoma defensive tackle Neville Galimore in the third round. In 2019, it was UCF’s Trysten Hill in the second round. And back in 2016, the Cowboys made Nebraska’s Maliek Collins their third-round pick.

Despite this draft focus, the Cowboys finished last season with the second-worst rushing defense in the NFL, allowing an average of 158.8 yards on the ground to opposing offenses. Dallas desperately needs a stout run defender to clog up those rushing lanes and occupy offensive linemen to free up the linebackers like the newly acquired Micah Parsons playing behind him.

That’s where drafting someone like NC State’s Alim McNeill on day two would seemingly make sense. At 6-foot-2, 320-pounds, McNeill has surprising twitch and quickness for a player his size. His stout frame, violent hands, and raw strength would make him to ideal one-technique to pair with interior pass rushers like Hill and Gallimore.

As a junior in 2020, McNeill recorded 25 combined tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack, one interception, and a defensive touchdown (pick-six). He also forced a fumble and recovered one.