Updated: Jan 18
Depth at all positions will be key for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2019, this will especially hold true for their defensive line.
For the most part, veteran defensive end Tyson Alualu does not get much attention. Since he arrived in 2017, he has quietly performed his role as effectively as anyone on the Pittsburgh Steelers roster.
At this point as his career, one can comfortably conclude that his value back in 2010, was slightly exaggerated when he was selected in the first round by the Jacksonville Jaguars. What has become clear these last few years, is how he has accepted his role as a reserve lineman; a role he has made peace with.
Alualu's greatest, proven value has involved stopping the run; this was especially the case in 2017. That season, Alualu accounted for 31 total stops and a stop rate of 79%. Against the run, had 25 stops and a stop rate of over 78%. This past season, Alualu played few snaps than he did the previous year and his numbers declined. Yet his body of work was more than enough to merit a two-year contract extension back in February.
The addition of Isaiah Buggs through the draft should not be viewed as an indictment against Alualu's, rather it should represent well needed reinforcement to a position that was in dire need of more depth.
Throughout the course of a season, when the injuries start becoming an area of concern, good depth will be key to their continuity. Even though his role is not a glamorous one, Alualu's contributions are an essential part of the equation for a successful season.