Packers Path To Draft: Part 2

Tyson Alualu, the high-octane defensive lineman from California, could add some punch to the Packers' lackluster pass rush. Alualu talked to the Packers at the Senior Bowl, and he talked to us after a practice.

The Green Bay Packers enter this offseason happy with their defensive line but not exactly satisfied.

Starting ends Cullen Jenkins and Johnny Jolly and backup B.J. Raji were anchors to the NFL's top-ranked run defense. That's the good news. The bad news is that they didn't provide enough pass rush. Cullen Jenkins was solid — and occasionally dominant — with 4.5 sacks, but Jolly and Raji, the first-round pick, had just one apiece. Among the three, Jenkins had 25 of the 37 pressures.

A possible third-round prospect who could add some juice to that pass rush would be Cal's Tyson Alualu. The 6-foot-2 1/4, 291-pound Alualu, who is of Hawaiian descent and is married with two children, tallied 7.5 sacks as a senior and 17 for his career.

Alualu's powerful bull rush and quickness off the ball could provide a lift to the unit and bolster the depth to keep the mainstays fresh.

"I think I bring versatility," he told Packer Report at the Senior Bowl last week. "At Cal, I played all the positions on the D-line. I feel comfortable and enjoy playing all the positions and I had success at all positions. That's my biggest thing. Wherever a team needs me, I can play whatever position they need me at."

Alualu is a high-effort player who always seemed to be around the ball during Senior Bowl practices. That's in line with his production for the Golden Bears. He led all Pac-10 defensive linemen with 60 tackles. His motor rubbed off on teammates in Mobile.

He attributed that full-speed-all-the-time mentality to his coaches at Cal and the full-throttle practices they conducted.

"He gets off the ball with a great first step, is forceful upfield and pushes the opposition off the line," draft analyst Chris Steuber said. "He uses his hands well, has great strength and enjoys the physical part of the game. He plays with a lot of intensity and possesses a high motor; he is a very productive player."

While he'll be able to play tackle in a 4-3 and end in a 3-4, several scouts surveyed in Mobile thought Alualu would be best in a 3-4. Cal runs a 3-4 scheme and has some experience dropping into coverage during zone blitzes.

The Packers were one of the teams that showed the most interest last week.

"(Scouts have) said a lot of great things," Alualu said while exchanging greetings with his parents. "They like my effort and my hard work the way I practice. I owe it all to my coaches and everyone back at Cal. That's how we practice. We practice every practice like we play in games, so I'm used to it. Out here, it's second-nature."

Alualu isn't a perfect fit. He needs to develop some counter moves as a pass rusher. And he's not quite the ideal height that historically have made the best 3-4 ends. By that standard, first-round prospects such as Penn State's Jared Odrick (6-foot-5) and Florida's Carlos Dunlap (6-foot-6) would be better fits if the Packers truly want to upgrade the position, as would rising mid-round prospect Alex Carrington of Arkansas State (6-foot-5).

"He has to develop more as a pass rusher and use his hands better," Steuber said. "He doesn't possess a large repertoire of moves and relies on his natural strength as a pass rusher. He's quick off the snap, but loses momentum when he turns the corner against the opposition. He's a bit of a tweener and doesn't have a primary position at the next level."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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