Defensive tackle Tyson Alualu is back with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Not every first-round draft pick will turn into a Pro Bowler, and that’s a fact. It’s possible that the coaching staff doesn’t put the player in a position to succeed or maybe he is simply not talented enough. Other times, it takes time for him to figure things out, which is Tyson Alualu’s case.
Although Alualu wasn’t the difference-maker the Jaguars thought he would be when they made him the tenth overall pick in 2010’s draft, he’s carved a niche as a solid role player. The defensive tackle left Jacksonville in 2017 and joined the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Over his four-year stint in Steel City, Alualu never played more than 44 percent of their total snaps on defense but was a key cog in their defensive line rotation. Back in Jacksonville again, the California product should help solidify a unit that had a hard time stopping the run and the pass last season.
Most coordinators on both sides of the ball and head coaches try to bring players they’re familiar with to their new team and Jaguars defensive coordinator Joe Cullen is no different, having vouched for defensive end Jihad Ward, whom he knows from his time as the Baltimore Ravens defensive line coach.
In fact, head coach Urban Meyer says he hadn’t seen a coach pound the table for a player as hard as Cullen did for Ward, via Michael DiRocco of ESPN. Over his five-year career, the Illinois product has spent time with the Las Vegas Raiders, the Indianapolis Colts, and the Ravens. He’s played 51 games with 14 starts and has registered 59 total tackles (nine for a loss), eight sacks, and three passes defensed.
It’s unlikely Ward will play a big role in the Jaguars’ defense in 2020. Instead, he will be part of their rotation. Jacksonville’s lack of depth was exposed when defensive end Josh Allen missed time with injuries in 2020. They will be better equipped now with Ward and Dawuane Smoot, who re-signed with the team, on the roster.