Wednesday, March 22, 2017

New Steelers DL Tyson Alualu brings pedigree, flexibility

By Chris Bradford
March 21, 2017
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PITTSBURGH – In a bit of a recurring theme, the Steelers signed a player in free agency on Tuesday who will add depth to their roster. The biggest difference between Tyson Alualu and the three other outside free agents the Steelers have signed to date is that the former Jacksonville Jaguars defensive lineman brings considerable pedigree.
If Alualu’s name is vaguely familiar it’s because he is the former 10th overall pick in the 2010 draft.
Propelled by a strong combine showing, the former Cal star was the third D-linemen selected, after Ndamukong Suh (second overall) and Gerald McCoy (third). While Suh and McCoy have combined for nine Pro Bowl selections, Alualu has been a bit of a disappointment in his seven seasons with the Jaguars given his draft stock.
The 6-foot-3, 295-pound Alualu has 17.5 sacks and 177 solo tackles in 110 career games (88 starts). Signed to a two-year, $6-million contract prior to the 2015 season, Alualu was hardly a lock to make the Jaguars’ 53-man roster last season. Still, Alualu is a solid, durable player who should fit the Steelers’ need for him as a backup to Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt and Javon Hargave.
In addition to his pedigree and experience, Alualu provides position flexibility. He played both on the end and in the interior with Jacksonville.
If nothing else, Alualu, signed to a two-year deal, is an upgrade for the Steelers who were in desperate need of D-line depth last season. With free agent Ricardo Mathews now unlikely to be re-signed, Alualu should be in the mix with fellow reserves Dan McCullers, L.T. Walton and Johnny Maxey for playing time.

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