With the Draft fast approaching, it's time to start looking at some potential players for the Patriots. I'm going to put profiles of 2 players a day- one offense, one defensive- and gain a better understanding of the players in the draft.
The Patriots have a need for a player to step up into the DE role that Richard Seymour left vacant. Someone needs to play at a level that strikes fear into opposing offensive lines and gives our linebackers and defensive backs enough time to make plays. California DE Tyson Alualu has the potential to be that someone. Alualu benefits from having played 3-4 DE in college (California is one of three DI colleges that run the 3-4 defense) and would be able to contribute immediately, with a very small learning curve. Alualu is a shade under 300 pounds and is a couple inches short of the "ideal" 6-5 mark, but he has the size to play on our defense. He knows how to get into the backfield and disrupt plays, has a high motor and is a great team player. He can stop the pass and stop the run. The only drawback is his height and weight- two things that Belichick seems to demand from his draftees.
His measurements and some quotes after the jump.
Height: 6-3. Weight: 294.
Projected 40 Time: 4.92.
Combine 40 Time: 4.87.
Pro Day 40 Time: DNP.
03/12/2010 - TOP RATED NFL DRAFT SCOUT DEFENSIVE TACKLES: Tyson Alualu: California, 6-2, 291, 2-3: Mature, high-intensity player who commands respect with his level of play and team attitude. He doesn't have elite strength or speed, but he has a combination of quickness, awareness and endless energy that wears down blockers. His style of reckless abandon earned him playing time beginning his freshman season, and he went on to win several team awards for his courage and attitude and was elected team captain in 2009. Played in 51 games with 39 starts, including a run of 38 consecutive starts. He made 188 tackles, 24?? for a loss, 17 sacks, four forced and four recovered fumbles, a blocked kick and an interception. - Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange, NFLDraftScout.com/CBS Sports/USA TODAY
01/25/2010 - Senior Bowl, Monday: Cal defensive lineman Tyson Alualu is not the strongest or quickest player up front this week, but always seemed to be around the ball because of his outstanding hustle. He pumped up his teammates and was often the first to greet them after they made a play. His ability to play outside at 291 pounds will also endear him to line coaches around the league. - Chad Reuter, The Sports Xchange, NFLDraftScout.com
Alualu appears to be a bit of a tweener (combination of height and weight) for an NFL defensive lineman. He doesn’t have the great bulk as an interior lineman in a 4-3 front or the ideal height to play end in a 3-4 scheme. Alualu shows deceptive power for his size that can push the pocket as a pass rusher as well as penetrate the line of scrimmage as a run defender. He has quick hands to control and separate from blockers as well as solid instincts to feel pad pressure and maintain leverage in his gap responsibility. Alualu has enough tools and talent to contribute giving depth to an NFL defensive line.
Final Word: One game tape watched on Alualu, and it is hard not to fall in love with the his style of play. He may lack size, speed, and explosion but the motor he plays with cannot be topped. He is giving 100% on each play no matter the situation or opponent, something that most defensive lineman cannot say. Another attractive portion of Alualu’s game is his ability to play all spots along the defensive front. His best fit may come as defensive end in a 3-4 scheme where he has the technician type approach and is also very difficult for one blocker to keep at bay. He has the athleticism that a coach can use in creative packages, as seen in his ability to rush the edge as well as drop in to coverage via the zone blitz. The players that produce consistently despite the physical shortcomings are always worth a second look. Alualu is wise beyond his years and will enter the league with more maturity than the normal rookie. His set of intangibles is what coaches look for when searching for those vital role players, and he should get his name called before the end of round 3.
Verdict: Absolutely worth a look in the 2nd. Alualu is one of the few players who knows his role in the 3-4 defense and should be able to help out right off the bat. While he doesn't possess ideal height, he has the skill set to overcome that negative. He can stop the run and can disrupt the pass. He plays to the whistle. He's a high character player. His knocks include his inability be taller and chase down running backs from behind- the former which isn't something he can change and the latter is something almost all D-Linemen suffer from. Does he seem like a player who is a quintessential Patriot? Yes. If he's around late in the 2nd and we don't address the position earlier, he's definitely a player I hope we grab.