McNeill, a 6-foot-9, 337-pound man tower, has been a dominant force at the point of attack for the Tigers, for the last four years. He built a reputation for paving the way for backs like Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams.
McNeill has drawn significant interest from the scouts in attendance at the Senior Bowl, speaking extensively with a number of teams including the Patriots, Chargers and Chiefs among 6 or 7 others McNeill told insiders. From what they've seen of the big fella, they've been pleased.
"So far, the coaches here have been pleased with my work," McNeill told reporters. "Working with professional coaches this week is something that I am going to have up on a lot of the offensive linemen coming into the league next year."
Marcus McNeill - OT, Auburn
Projected as a first-round talent, McNeill hopes to play left tackle, because that's where the money is. If he's going to get there, he's going to have to work on his technique. Some scouts have observed that McNeill plays off-balance at times and needs to adjust his technique for the pros.
McNeil missed the beginning of Senior Bowl week because he stayed at home to attend his granmother's funeral. He missed the weigh-in and other check-in procedures arriving just in time for the first practice session. The hectic pace had him flustered early on, but he seems to have settled down, taking in the advice his coaches are giving him.
McNeill is a huge presence along the line, standing head, and almost shoulders over a number of other linemen. He has the size to play tackle, and the experience at the position, but his technique may need improvement to the point where he would fit into the mix at right tackle.
The Patriots are considering McNeill as one alternative among the many linemen at the Senior Bowl. He represents a solid addition to a roster that has had difficulty maintaining consistency along the offensive line. With Tom Ashworth fighting off knee and back problems the last two years, and Brandon Gorin not delivering the kind of impact the team is looking for, McNeill could find a home with the Patriots starters.
A consensus All-American and All-SEC Conference selection, McNeill has the accolades to go along with his size. The only sack he ever gave up in college came when he was moved inside to guard, a point he is sure to remind his interviewer of.
2006 Senior Bowl practice reports: South
All Senior Bowl coverage: Senior Bowl Central