One of the most criticized players on the Jacksonville Jaguars defensive line for the most misunderstood reason has been Tyson Alualu. The former No. 10 overall pick was deemed a player the team would likely cut last offseason when the new regime came, but some of us tried to caution that his move to strong side end would likely rejuvenate a stale career for Alualu.
Despite many calling for him to be cut because of his lack of sacks and pass rush ability at strong side end, neither of which are the primary focus of the position, Alualu started all year long and wasn't great, but wasn't bad. The team upgraded Alualu's position bringing in veteran Red Bryant from the Seattle Seahawks, which in turn actually helps out Alualu by having someone he can rotate with and it's showing so far in training camp.
"Yeah, he’s really – we had a meeting with our scouts and the personnel, and his name popped up that he’s been consistent. He’s not had a bad day throughout camp," Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley said following Tuesday's practice. "I think he’s healthy. I think that’s a big part of it. He was battling that knee but this year has had no effects of it. So with him we’re seeing that consistent play."
"And Red (Bryant), both those two guys challenge each other – I think it’s been very good for them," Bradley added.
As it stands right now, Alualu is likely going to be Bryant's primary back up and rotate snaps with him, as the Seahawks began limiting the big man's snaps last season. Once again, heading through training camp, Alualu has been placed on the chopping block by many, but it still seems like he'll stick.
And he should.
"When you feel good and you’re healthy, I think it comes with it. He’s just in a good state right now," Bradley said of Alualu. "Like I said – very consistent play, very steady, hasn’t had a bad day, all good days. So we’re looking to see him continue to improve."
The Jaguars look to likely keep nine or 10 defensive lineman this season, with four of those likely being LEO pass rushers. Then you have Bryant, Roy Miller, Sen'Derrick Marks and newly signed Ziggy Hood. Some have tried to argue Alualu is on the chopping block, but his ability to start at strong side end and add some versatility in packages kicking inside, he'll very likely at least stick around for the final year of his contract.