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Sprint Game Changers: Tyson Alualu


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We're starting a new six part series on Big Cat Country sponsored by Sprint, bringing you the first wireless 4G network.  The series is called "Sprint Game Changers" and will revolve around things the Jacksonville Jaguars have done during the off season that will have a significant impact on next season.  Big Cat Country has been sponsored by Sprint in the past and we are excited to have them again.

For the second part in the "Game Changers" series, we're going to look at new Jacksonville Jaguar defensive tackle and first round draft pick Tyson Alualu and just what he brings to Jaguars defense.

Our good friends at California Golden Blogs have been kind enough to help us out with an Alualu breakdown.

Tyson Alualu

Oddly enough, the Cal fans had a similarly funny nickname for Tyson Alualu as a lot of Jaguars fans did for John Henderson.

We here at California Golden Blogs like to call Tyson a monster who eats children, but is that really all he is?

Let's take a look:

I love this kid. He's got a great motor. Heavy hands. Tough kid. He played a little out of position at the 5-technique in Cal's 3-4. I think he's a 3-technique in a four-man front. But even the 3-4 teams like him. They would play him on first and second down at the 5, then kick him inside on third down. He's a guy who's really risen since the end of the season.

Has appeared in every game of collegiate career.

Plays with an edge and looks to drive offensive linemen back when he gets under their pads. Both upper- and lower-body strength appear above-average on film. Strong and heavy handed. Displays a violent and powerful initial punch Plays with a relentless motor as a pass rusher but he will sometimes gear down prematurely when pursuing the run.

More stout than his size suggests and even flashes the ability to hold ground against double teams. Generally stays low and gets under the blocker's pads. Plays with a wide base and keeps his head up so he can locate the ball. Flashes the ability to shed blocks in time to make plays at the line of scrimmage and is a powerful tackler who wraps up on contact. Takes adequate pursuit angles but lacks elite range and is not going to chase down many backs. Footwork is inconsistent. Lunges at times and can lose balance.

Productive talent who played at a high level throughout career earning all-conference recognition. Uses his power to hold up at the point of attack and to push the pocket. Displays the pass rush ability necessary to stay on the field on third down. Exhibits impressive hand use to gain leverage and shed blockers. Is a tough, relentless player.

Strong, nasty defender with the ability to be used at several spots on the line. Displays good first-step quickness, keeps his pads low to the ground, and gets leverage on opponents. Breaks down well, rarely off his feet, and quickly locates the ball. Smart football player, keeps his feet driving on contact, and fires through gaps up the field. Consistently focused on or double teamed by opponents in the middle of the line. Displays good hand technique and an array of moves getting off blocks. Chases the action hard and plays with a non-stop motor.

Good initial quickness off the snap. Good lateral agility and balance to slide down the line against the toss and make the tackle at or near the line of scrimmage. Uses his natural leverage advantage and overall strength to anchor at the point of attack. Good upper-body strength to stack and shed in the running game.

Looks lighter on film than his listed weight, but plays with good strength at the point of attack. Relies on his lower-body drive and natural leverage advantage to anchor. Doesn't give up much room and has the quick, strong hands to disengage to make plays at or near the line of scrimmage.

Locates the ball quickly and flies to the action. Only marginal flexibility to break down in space, but he's a high-effort pursuit defender willing to launch his body into the air to knock down the ballcarrier. Good strength for the drag-down tackle.

High-intensity player who plays with reckless abandon. Seems to enjoy the physical aspect of the game and is willing to throw his body into the pile. Team captain. Given the team's Brick Muller Award as the defensive line MVP the past three years. Played in all 51 games of his career. Earned Joe Roth Award for best exemplifying courage, attitude and sportsmanship, as well as the Senior Lifter of the Year. Married with two children.

After all that would Tyson only be considered a second rounder then? Because like everyone else, he has some negatives:

Gets into blockers pads quickly and uses hands well to disengage. Quick enough to establish position but lacks elite first-step quickness and snap anticipation is just adequate.

Adequate bull rusher who flashes the ability to collapse the pocket. Does a good job of getting his hands up when he sees the quarterback start his throwing motion. Fights to get off blocks and can make plays with second effort but doesn't force offensive linemen to move their feet enough. Doesn't show a variety of double moves and needs to do a better job of setting offensive linemen up. Would struggle to turn the corner if asked to line up at end in the NFL and is not going to win many battles with his first step when lined up on the inside. Can get caught out of his rush lane.

Only possesses average size. Lacks the ideal bulk to play inside and the height of a defensive end. Average change of direction in space and doesn’t always locate the football quickly. Only has average range in pursuit and won’t chase down plays from the backside.

Lacks natural bulk and at times easily controlled by a single blocker. Marginal speed. Minimally effective as a pass rusher.

Has a good initial burst and hand placement to get into the pads of the offensive tackle and drive him into the pocket. Lacks sustained speed off the edge to rush the passer as a defensive end and likely will be moved inside to tackle in the NFL. Marginal technique as a pass rusher. Relies on a bull rush and strong hands to disengage and uses mostly effort to collapse the pocket. Shows a spin move, but it is slow to develop and generally ineffective.

Provides good initial pop when meeting the blocker. Shows explosiveness in his hands with his ability to shed blocks and gives high effort to close, but only marginal burst.

The consensus here seems to be that Alualu is a high-energy player who is versatile enough to play any position on the defensive line, but will likely be a much better defender against the run than against the pass, as he isn't expected to provide much of a pass rush. Each of these analyses also included the caveat that Alualu's production likely would have been greater had he not played in a 3-4 alignment and as a 4-3 defender, more people would know his name. Tyson's current ratting on ESPN's Scouts Inc. has him as the 35th overall prospect, and 6th rated DT.


Make sure to hit up California Golden Blogs and let them know how much we appreciate this breakdown.