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Steelers Sign Ironman Alualu

The Steelers found quality depth for the defensive line in Tyson Alualu.

Tyson Alualu may not have lived up to his potential as the No. 10 overall pick of the 2010 draft, but he played well enough to become one of the rare survivors with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Alualu, the 6-2 1/2, 295-pound defensive lineman, is now with the Pittsburgh Steelers, after signing a two-year contract with the team on Tuesday.

Alualu was known as the surprise pick of the 2010 draft, in which the Steelers chose Maurkice Pouncey eight picks later. But for all of the criticism Alualu received for not becoming a star with the Jaguars, he was one of only four players to survive the Gene Smith era as general manager to play with the team through last season.

Smith was fired after the Jaguars' 2-14 season in 2012. He was replaced by Dave Caldwell, who turned over the roster at such a fast pace that only 15 of the 53 players remained in his first season as general manager.

That number dwindled to four -- Alualu, Chad Henne, Mercedes Lewis and Paul Posluszny -- by last season, one of Alualu's best. He had 2.5 sacks, 26 tackles and a forced fumble, and was called the team's "breakout player" by Fox Sports.

Alualu, who turns 30 on May 12, was born in Honolulu as one of nine children to a father who was in and out of prison for assault and drug charges. But Alualu found a way to make it to the University of California, where he played in all 52 games, the last 39 of which as a starting defensive end in the Bears' 3-4 alignment.

At the NFL Combine, Alualu ran a 5.02 40 with 21 bench reps and was praised by analysts for his versatility, quick first step, high motor, production and durability. He was knocked for his hand usage and for not having a true position as a "tweener."

That didn't stop him from making a variety of All-Rookie teams in 2010 when he started 16 games for the Jaguars. In fact, Alualu started every game for Jacksonville through the 2013 season before being moved to defensive end as a reserve in 2014.

Alualu served as a backup well enough in 2014 to re-sign as a free agent prior to the 2015 season and he started 14 games. 

Alualu had played in all 96 games with the Jaguars before he was a healthy scratch for the team's first two games last season. He then played in the next 14, 10 as a starter.

Overall, Alualu has played in 110 games for the Jaguars with 88 starts, 17.5 sacks, 177 tackles, six passes defensed, three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles.

With the Steelers, Alualu's expected to replace Ricardo Mathews as a reserve, pass-rushing tackle in the team's nickel alignment.


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