Jacksonville Jaguars: Five Players Who Must Step Up in 2015

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Dec 1, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Tyson Alualu (93) against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Tyson Alualu, Defensive End

Tyson Alualu is a hold over from the Gene Smith era. A former first round pick, he was originally expected to excel as an interior pass rusher, paired with fellow defensive tackle Terrance Knighton. Instead, the Jacksonville Jaguars got a mediocre pass rusher who was undersized for his position and consistently bullied. Dave Caldwell and Gus Bradley have since moved Alualu over to defensive end, hoping to capitalize on his abilities better at that position after revamping the defensive tackle position.

Alualu has proven to barely be serviceable in his new role. In 2015 he was Pro Football Focus’s 51st ranked 4-3 defensive end (with at least 25% of snaps) in pass rushing efficiency (just five from the bottom). While not called upon to fill the pass rushing LEO role, Alualu was expected to be a hybrid player who could both run stop and provide pressure when asked to do so. He finished 36th among 4-3 defensive ends in run stop percentage (of 55), sitting in the middle of the road among eligible players (25% of snaps or more). While that was the best among Jags defensive ends, Alualu must improve if he wants to stick with the team.

With so few Smith-era players left on the Jaguars’ roster, Alualu seems to be an odd holdover. He hasn’t proven to be a critical piece in the defensive end rotation and he hasn’t done enough to justify more playing time. He’ll need to show what he can do to head coach Gus Bradley or risk not being with the team anymore.

Next: The Jaguars Sign Dante Fowler Jr.

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