The Pittsburgh Steelers signing of defensive lineman Tyson Alualu has the potential to end up being one of those sneaky good low risk depth signings that pays dividends during the season. And what the depth signing does is solidify a position on defense going into the draft where the Steelers have no need to address in the first three rounds.
With Cam Heyward – Javon Hargrave – Stephon Tuitt entrenched as the starters, Alualu provides an upgrade over Ricardo Mathews who entered last season as the Steelers top backup and the Steelers are now a good 5-deep at the position with Alualu and the emerging L.T. Walton as the top backups.
What the Steelers like is the versatility of Alualu to play all three positions on the line and they’re getting a hungry player who at age 29 wants to win.
“I just wanted to be part of something special,” Alualu said during his media session of joining the Steelers.
Alualu, 29, had 37 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 1 forced fumble in 2016 for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He has spent his entire seven year career with the Jaguars, totaling 258 tackles and 17.5 sacks.
Alualu never lived up to being the 10th overall pick, most notably when it came to getting to the passer. Alualu has a high motor but quickly showed early in his career he has no go-to move against elite linemen and often gets swallowed up.
When rushing the passer he has to rely on his length and strength which can be a positive against smaller offensive linemen and one thing the Steelers are always going to get is effort. Alualu goes all out on nearly every snap.
For a Steelers team whose time is now with Ben Roethlisberger at age 35 as elite seasons from Roethlisberger are starting to dwindle, there would have been no complaints here if the Steelers would have taken a one year gamble like the Falcons did on nose tackle Dontari Poe who the Steelers loved coming out of the draft and would have became a much more dangerous team in getting to the passer from the interior with Poe in the fold.
Alualu, though, checks some boxes in being able to provide quality depth and it’s the type of low risk signing the Steelers prefer to do with free agents.
Steelers have high grade on OSU’s Raekwon McMillan
Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"