An interview with NC State’s Alim McNeill

Time for the second instalment of my draft interview series. The first was with Milton Williams at LA Tech. The latest one is with NC State defensive tackle Alim McNeill.

He’s one of my favourite players in this draft class — uniquely athletic for his size, productive and flying under the radar.

My third interview was recorded with Vanderbilt’s Dayo Odeyingbo yesterday and will be published next week.

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  1. cha

    “I would love to play 5-tech.”

    Yes please!

  2. millhouse-serbia

    [blockquote] @werderEDESPN
    Former #Chargers HC Anthony Lynn is an interesting OC candidate for the #Seahawks. A former RB, Lynn endorses a physical approach but runs the ball to set up play-action. Not like @DangeRussWilson would be running the wishbone. Had a top 10 offense in Buffalo.[blockquote]

    • Rob Staton

      Is he interesting, Ed?

      Is he really?

  3. TomLPDX

    Seems like a smart, athletic “dude!”, would love to see him on our DLine. Where do you see him going in the draft? I know you said top 50, which we would just miss on.

    Another great interview, Rob. Thanks.

    • JJ

      Not if we trade up all of our remaining 2020 picks! 😉

    • BobbyK

      There’s always guys who fall a bit every year. Last year I didn’t think Dobbins, Chinn, or Wilson would fall as far as they did. Someone good will be there at 56 as long as they go BPA. When they force stuff – that’s when their draft picks suck.

    • Rob Staton

      Yeah I think top-50 range is fair.

  4. cha



    Breaking: Seahawks WR Josh Gordon’s conditional reinstatement has been rescinded and he is now suspended indefinitely again, a source told

    • TomLPDX

      I was just going to post the Florio article ( about that.

      I know Josh has created his own bed and all that, but the NFL could at least tell us why he failed to meet all requirements. Josh isn’t a bad person, just someone who has an addiction problem which is hard to control and deal with. Sad for Josh because I believe he could have gotten support from a team like the Seahawks. I hope he survives.

      • Rob Staton

        I know Josh has created his own bed and all that, but the NFL could at least tell us why he failed to meet all requirements

        I think people need to change their angle on this.

        The NFL is clearly, to me, acting for a reason. We don’t need to know the details. Josh is a troubled guy. Let’s just hope for the best for him.

    • 12th chuck

      Vonn miller is under criminal investigation as well, might affect free agent pass rushers (or soon to be) that the hawks were looking at

  5. Rusty

    Great interview. Interesting to hear how much he feels his diet has changed now that he’s away from college and preparing to be a professional. The food aspect of college sports has always been slightly bizarre to me (e.g. stories of basketball players going to bed hungry during March Madness tournament because of restrictions on what the program can provide)

  6. Frank

    Such a likable personality, seem genuine without ever feeling forced. All these kids study for how to answer interviews to maximize their first nfl paycheck, but he seems quite natural, like he’s just more comfortable in his skin than most of us and somehow confident and humble at the same time. He just knows he’s a dude, and not much reason to go on about it like a true pro.

  7. Zxvo3

    I’m loving these interviews Rob. McNeill seems like a fantastic player. He’s not the tallest and doesn’t look as intimidating as other defensive tackles, but it’s been proven in the NFL that size doesn’t matter if one can back it up with excellent athleticism. Too bad he’ll go before Seattle’s pick.

  8. Mick

    Sounds like a clever guy, on the pitch and outside it. We could use a player like him. Rob, I also find your interviews really interesting, and I wish you had time to do more 🙂 .

  9. Rob Staton

    It’s only truly dawned on me the extent of the utter failure this season was, now that the divisional round is here and the Seahawks are not involved.

    This is regression. Forget 12-4, it means absolutely nothing. They had an easy schedule, had only one win against a proper playoff team and then lost to that same team in embarrassing fashion in the post-season two weeks later.

    Not even being at this stage, should be recognised for what it is.

    And making things so much worse is the knowledge that they’ve plundered their resources for this ‘achievement’ and god knows how they even move forward from here.

    If they just keep doing the same things year after year, with the same people making the decisions, this team will not get any closer to another Super Bowl.

    The problem is I don’t sense a burning desire to fix anything. There’s almost an apathy. A feeling that things will be OK if they just roll their sleeves up and have another go.

    No. That isn’t accurate.

    I’m anticipating that as time passes since the Rams game more and more people will take comfort in the 12-4 record and will forget a lot of the issues surrounding this team.

    • Big Mike

      But…..but……….Jamal Adams sack record for DBs!! We don’t need no stinking resources.

      • Rob Staton

        I think I’m probably going to have to copy and paste my standard response to the sack numbers/blitzing, plus the Hugh Millen video on Adams, to have it to hand for the 1,934,395 times those sack numbers will come up as a counter argument this off-season.

        • Big Mike

          I haven’t seen the Millen vid on Adams. Please link!

    • Big Mike

      Here’s the sad thing for me, my apathy is going to match theirs. I just don’t give a crap anymore. I’ll watch when I have nothing better to do. Otherwise, meh. Now if they were to trade Adams and thus show me that they understand the corner they’ve painted themselves into I might regain some hope. Then they’d have the draft capital that was high enough to obtain some actual impact players rather than the 3rd and fourth rounders they’re inevitably going to have after the usual trade down bullshit. You know, move to draft a workhorse RB, a future LT who can play RT until Duane retires, etc.

      • bv eburg

        Been here for a few years now Big Mike. What Ive found is I know longer am on the edge of the seat, not hollering at refs on TV, etc. While each game is a different chapter you know how the story ends so no use getting worked up.
        So I sit back and enjoy the occasional shows of marvelous athletic ability by Tyler and DK. The occasional (any more, not like early career) athletic ability of Russ. Marvell at KJ and his steady quality play. Enjoy the development of new guys like Lewis and Reed.
        Enjoy the little stuff but know how the book ends.

        • Rob Staton

          I know longer am on the edge of the seat, not hollering at refs on TV, etc.


          • AlaskaHawk

            Until this year, the offense was almost unwatchable in the first half of games. Barely able to move the ball, and no motivation to score points. It’s no wonder that Russell is the king of 4th quarter comebacks when they played so poorly in the first half. Pete’s goals were to keep the game close, wear down the other team, and don’t have turnovers; not to win, just not be out of the game.

            This year I saw some hope in the first games. I did not expect the offense to do well with out a preseason. But in hindsight, besides the weak teams they faced, they really only needed a few long bombs to win the games. Basically the offensive line had to hold, and Russell needed to find Metcalf or Lockette or Moore on a long pass. And he did. But as the offense moved into midseason, all those advantages became fools gold.

            I don’t know what happened, they had their best running backs by the end of the season, but Russell looked off. Was it coaching, was Russell injured? Who knows?

            This is just my long winded way of saying, I hope the offense can become watchable again in the first half. Pete ball simply doesn’t impress me until the 4th quarter when they are desperate.

    • Denver Hawker

      Who among the key stakeholders see it this way and what’s the leverage?

      – Fans- some are pissed, but most seem content with 12-4 and spew the gospel of how we should be grateful for these years, because before Pete there was only darkness. Fans only have leverage to not attend games (can’t now anyhow), turn off the TV (not happening), or try to drive the local media narrative.

      – Local Media- toothless, when they aren’t fawning and slobbering all over the Seahawks, their bite is simply dismissed as heretic. They do have some leverage though as they could use the platform to change fans minds about the team. I could see them getting to this point with another year like this.

      – Players- Russ is really the only one with leverage. I’m sure most aren’t happy with the outcome, but they also just show up to play, get a check, and go home. Russ is the only one that has a platform to force his way out if things don’t change, and he might but not this year. Team would risk losing the fan’s sympathy if he were to leave too.

      – Admin- this is really just Pete and JS and everyone else they direct. Pete is hell bent on making sure we see this year as a success and quit our bitchin. JS has been silent but also signed up for more years, forgoing his leverage.

      – Ownership- Does Jody like football? Or is this just one of the many investments she and Vulcan manage as just that, an investment. As long as the value is preserved toward an eventual sale, I do t believe they care about outcomes.

      So that’s it. Few among the stakeholders have leverage against Pete to drive a different narrative. Russ is doing yeoman’s work setting the table and fans/media should join arms with him. Russ also sets the tone with his teammates, his malcontent would become their malcontent and Pete would lose the team.

      My only other thought recently on this is how much do the players buy in to what Pete wants to do and how he talks about this season. Do they believe him, is he more honest to them than to the media/fans?

      • Rob Staton

        I want Pete to be the solution. I want him to be honest about the situation and make the necessary moves.

        That means finally putting his words into action. You want to run the offense YOU prefer, then pour resources into your O-line and get a top class running back. We’ve spent so much on linebackers and safeties instead.

        Then, go and get a PROPER offensive coordinator and EMPOWER them to run the offense. No meddling.

        • cha

          I want running backs that aren’t always broken.

          Sick and tired of running out street free agents in important games.

          • Rob Staton


            • McZ

              Having a capable IOL is the best way to keep your RBs healthy.

              I think, we need a Derrick Henry type of rusher. One out of Cam Akers, Jonathan Taylor and AJ Dillon would have been our man. This draft, Trey Sermon could be our guy.

              Btw, Rob… did you have time to delve into this years corner class?
              What about Greg Newsome, NW?

              • Rob Staton

                did you have time to delve into this years corner class?

                Only the names I’ve talked about so far. I tend to wait until I have measurements.

    • Matt


      I feel like I’ve been losing my mind with this stuff. The Pete quote after the Rams game – I just can’t shake it:

      “We just wanted to keep it close.”

      MY GOD MAN…you were playing a team without a QB. I thought we had this top defense? And yes, RW was bad the last half of the year – but he’s not exactly chopped liver. Even more cringe-inducing…you had beat that team only two weeks prior!

      This is why I’ve become so anti-Pete. I think his overall football/game day strategy is some of the worst I’ve ever seen, in any sport.

      “Keep it close.”

      Remember when he used to be called “Big Balls Pete?” What happened to that guy? More like “ImPetent,” now.

      Now Russell’s quote about “why not score 24 in the first half?” is truly, truly telling. Maybe, just maybe – RW doesn’t care as much about throwing the ball 50 times as he does of having a coach who *wants* to put points on the board?

      I just can’t wrap my head around this…I was a college baseball player – and I’m trying to think of how I’d respond to an overall team strategy of “don’t strike out and let’s just try to keep the game close.” I mean…this is actually pretty wild.

      I get it…this is the NFL – blowouts are not the norm; but boy – is it ever a wonder why this team can’t blow the doors off even bad teams? It’s because they are too busy throwing half a game away because they want to be in bubble wrap with “fragile” placed over the Seahawks placard on their jersey.

      Man this is just so frustrating…and I can truly see RW’s urgency with “let’s fix this now!”

    • bv eburg

      Been at this point for 4 years Rob. You briefly convinced me off the ledge this time last year with the reset almost being complete and having plenty of cap space and draft picks. But then FA hit and not one difference maker signed with all that money.

      But then Pete started being Pete and meddling. If you remember this meddling started game 1 of Shottys career here in 2018 against Chicago when Pete admitted he butted into play calling after the game. And it lasted until this Rams debacle 3 years later.

      Won’t this be the 4th OC hired in Carrolls tenure? At what point does Carroll think maybe he’s the problem not all these OC’s?

  10. Rob Staton

    I want this to happen.


    Because it will show Pete isn’t just after a yes-man.

    And I will be wrong — and I will happily admit so if it happens.

    I want to see evidence that the Seahawks are being serious about this and not just getting a stooge.

    (I haven’t studied Doug Pederson’s offense enough to know whether it would be a good hire though — and I think increasingly Frank Reich deserves credit for the SB offense)

    • Big Mike

      Seems pretty obvious it was Reich

      • TomLPDX

        I think it was Reich also. I like Doug and thought he was a good coach. He collaborated with his offensive coaches from what I’ve read about him and they were successful early on (they won the SB). he just never was able to get someone like Frank back as his OC.

        • Rob Staton

          Can’t also shake that we’ve beaten the Eagles under Pederson so many times and I’ve never been that impressed with their offense.

          Compare that to Bill O’Brien who, when we played the Texans with young Deshaun in 2017, tore us a new arse on offense.

          • TomLPDX

            Pederson’s wiki page is pretty good and worth the read to get to know him a little bit better.


            This stood out to me:
            Kansas City Chiefs
            On January 11, 2013, Pederson followed Andy Reid to the Kansas City Chiefs to serve as offensive coordinator. Following a 1–5 start in 2015, Andy Reid gave Pederson play calling duties in the second half of the season, and the Chiefs proceeded to win their last 10 games, which made Pederson a coaching candidate for 2016.

            He is from the NW, born in Bellingham, WA

            • Frank

              Peterson would bring a coaching Tree/pedigree that is enviable, but he basically had exactly the type of collapse with Wenz as Shotty had with RW this year. Eagles fans are quick to complain about how predictable and vanilla his play calling is. He’s probably better than any other candidate that’s been associated with the Hawks so far, but still just feels like a lateral step and he’s never really been able to innovate to adjust to his talent in recent years. Was his success just running Andy Reid’s playbook and once teams adjusted, he couldn’t come up with a plan B. He does feel like a safe pick from a what would the team, media, fans think, but I wouldn’t pen us in for the SB over it. I’m a huge fan of the west coast offense, but RW isn’t a good West Coast QB. I think if the goal is to maximize Russ an Air Coryell would be a great fit.
              There still isn’t a defined identity, the first half of the season we had the number 1 offense and 32 best defense so thinking of any possible way to improve the defense as far as player go, and the second half had the number 1 defense and our offense imploded. It’s basically a dial they can’t agree where to set, but that decision determines what OC and players are needed. Ironically open up the offense and we need more defensive talent, and vise versa. I just hope a plan is in place soon enough to make the rest of the decisions.

              • Rob Staton

                My sceptical side wonders if a lot of these ‘conversations’ are just part of a process that will ultimately lead to Carroll still appointing a stooge.

                But at least those inclined to do so will feel like they actually had an extensive search this time…

                • TomLPDX

                  Someone like Dave Canales? He’s been with the Seahawks from the beginning in various offensive positions (WR coach, QB coach, passing coord).

                  • Rob Staton


        • Gohawks5151

          Late to the party, but I wrote on another article that I would sell Pederson on being OC for 2 years to rebuild his stock like Nick Saban does to coaches. He was last seen tanking for all the world to see. Let him work with Russ and rebuild his stock.

          Reich no question helped but I think it’s discounting Pederson. He has a good track record and came from a good coaching tree. He bled a lot of assistants all at once after they won the SB. That’s harder to come back from than I think people realize unless you have Belichick level of control as a coach. And it’s coming out Carson was a pain to handle and wanted to throw it. The Eagles paid him and chose him over the coach.

          I would love to see what he could do with this offense.

    • Submanjoe

      I agree. Doug Pederson is the only candidate I am aware of who would have the status to remain independent. He’s a west coast offense guy too. Would he stay for two years? Could in house talent be developed to replace him when he leaves? Potentially..

      • Robert

        Given where we’re at in Pete’s career, I think it’s reasonable to ask: if they hire Pederson or someone with a similar cv – i.e., former head coach/NFL OC – could he be set up as the head-coach-in-waiting (assuming his review is successful)?

  11. cha

    My first question to Pederson would be: “Last year you had an offensive line shredded due to injuries and Miles Sanders was running at 5 yards per carry. So why did you call a 62/38 pass/run split, even when Carson Wentz was putting up historically bad numbers?”

    The answer would be extremely illuminating.

  12. cha


    Mike Garafolo
    Weekend on the #Eagles maintaining during head coaching interviews they want Carson Wentz back next season.

    • AlaskaHawk

      They should pick a new QB with their #6 pick in the draft. Wentz has been toast for years, ever since Foles had to bail the team out. It’s ridiculous for them not to add another quarterback and make it a competition between him and Jalen Hurts.

      If they want more draft picks, they can trade down and will still be able to get Alabama’s Mac.

      • charlietheunicorn

        Wentz was amazing the year he won 11 or 12 games, then got hurt. That is why he got paid, but has never been able to get back to that level of production, some of it was his health and some of it his confidence and lastly, the team deteriorated around him…. they had average at best playmakers this season. Then got hit by numerous injuries on the OL and the season blew up and the wheels fell off the blown up wagon.

  13. charlietheunicorn

    I’m not sure of status…. or if they would be the right “fit” but…

    Pep Hamilton (Local radio was pumping this guys stock up)

    Doug Peterson (which you all kicked around already)

    Mike McDaniel (49ers Run Game Coordinator last 4 seasons)

    Tony Elliott (SI was recommending this guy, Clemson OC last 2 seasons)

    Charlie Weis Jr. (dark horse)

    • Rob Staton

      Pep Hamilton — so overrated

      Mike McDaniel – no chance

      Tony Elliott — reportedly staying at Clemson

      Weiss Jr — are you serious?? Maybe Google what his dad said about Pete Carroll when he was at Notre Dame. More chance I’ll be named the new OC.

      • TheOtherJordan

        So you’re saying there’s a chance. I’m reading ya.

        • charlietheunicorn

          Rob is a sly dog, he just put his name in the hat and wants the fat paycheck of being the Seahawks OC. Impressive, most impressive. 🙂

      • charlietheunicorn

        Well, I could have included Darrell Bevell ….. I’ll take anyone listed above over him 😉

        Showing a bit of ageism, but I wouldn’t be keen on hiring a pimply under 30 year old either….. and the sins of the father don’t always project onto the son….. and we are trying to find a name of a guy who would be totally off the radar.

        Jake Heaps specifically has been pushing the Hamilton name. And he does have a relationship with RW, so this could be telegraphing his (RW) preference. (???) I think he mentioned him almost every time I happened to listen to the midday 710 show….. for the last week. He is supposedly more QB centric/friendly, than most of the names listed…. which doesn’t appear to be a fit with PC and what he has stated that he wants the offense to be.

        • Rob Staton

          Hamilton is a trendy media name.

          He’s not good.

  14. Gohawks5151

    Another point on Pederson is that he has a really good record vs the Rams. In the Mcvay era he has beat them more time than not and put points on that defense. Even this year they played alright and got killed by turnovers.

  15. Mike

    Any of you guys like Keontay Ingram from Texas? He kind of looks like a Seahawks running back that could be a late round pick.

    • Mike

      Nevermind looks like he’s going back to school. Thought he had declared.

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