Updated: Sep 27, 2020
There were so many standout players in this afternoon's contest against the Denver Broncos. Yet this one is dedicated to a player that was once disregarded by many and deemed a 'bust', but found succeeded in redefining himself as a player. The player in this discourse is defensive lineman, Tyson Alualu.
When a player, who broke into the league as a first round pick, is humble enough to accept a backup role, it speaks volumes about their character. This was the reality Alualu faced when he first came to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2017.
It would be unfair to simply label him a 'bust'. During his time with the Jacksonville Jaguars,
he played in 110 games, registered 258 total tackles and 17 sacks. What would be fair to say, is that he never quite lived up to the lofty expectations that came with being a first round pick. Whether is was pressure or the incompatibility of his skill set versus the system he was playing in, Alualu was in need of a change in scenery.
Coming into Pittsburgh, the expectations were not nearly as high as they were in Jacksonville. While playing a reserve role on the defensive line, Alualu never complained; he just continued to work hard and produce when the opportunity presented itself. In his first year with the Steelers, he registered 4 sacks, the highest total so far in his career.
When injuries plagued the line, Alualu was there to provide backup.Through the ups and downs of this organization since that time, Alualu was one of the few constants this team had. All he did was waiting his turn and if the opportunity presented himself, he would be there to take it. That opportunity came this off-season, following the departure of Javon Hargrave.When head coach Mike Tomlin announced a vacancy on interior defensive line, Alualu made sure to be in prime condition to take that spot.
After a strong training camp, Alualu earned that spot and since then, he has excelled in his new starting role. In today's contest against the Denver Broncos, he registered a sack and a pass deflection in the same defensive series, in addition to five total tackles. So far in these first two games, he's been more than they could ask for.
Even though the course of his career took a different direction, Alualu accepted new his reality and worked hard to optimize it. If he continues down this path, the outcome could be greater than he could have ever imagined.