Alualu, Best Taken in First Round of NFL Draft

Photo: Defensive lineman Tyson Alualu went 10th overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars, becoming the Bears' highest draftee since 2001.
Skyler Reid/File
Defensive lineman Tyson Alualu went 10th overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars, becoming the Bears' highest draftee since 2001.

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Correction Appended

Cal defensive end Tyson Alualu spent three years delivering blind-side hits to unsuspecting opposing quarterbacks. With the tenth overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars blind-sided the entire nation by taking Alualu.

"They told me that they were interested, but I never thought they would pick me in the top ten," Alualu said. "I thought they would definitely trade down if they wanted me, but I'm just blessed to be here, to be a part of the Jaguars family now."

The Cal football program had its best draft day of the last 10 years as both Alualu and 30th overall pick Jahvid Best were selected in the first round-the first time that the Bears have had two first-round picks since Kyle Boller and Nnamdi Asomugha were taken 14th and 31st, respectively, in 2003.

In arguably the biggest shock of the day, Alualu became the third defensive lineman selected and the highest Cal draftee since Andre Carter went to the San Francisco 49ers seventh overall in 2001. It is safe to say that nobody saw the pick coming-including Alualu himself.

"Everyone was saying I would go in the late first or the early second, so we came in thinking second round," he said. "We were more prepared for (Friday)."

The Honolulu native's stock soared after a dominant Senior Bowl performance (he sacked Tim Tebow on one play, forcing the quarterback to fumble) and a series of impressive workouts. But even the most generous predictions had the Dallas Cowboys selecting Alualu with the draft's 27th overall pick.

Labeled a "mock draft buster" by CBS Sportsline, he certainly "busted" ESPN NFL draft expert Mel Kiper's predictions. Kiper was speechless right after the pick was announced and called it a "reach."

Asked if he had thought he would be drafted ahead of Best-who was selected by the Detroit Lions as the first round wound down Thursday night-Alualu said, "No, that's the crazy thing.

"He was definitely a steal," Alualu said. "He belonged in the top five."

Best elected not to participate in a conference call with the local media.

Alualu, a defensive end at Cal, said he will likely start out playing more on the inside with the Jaguars. He will fly out late next week for Jacksonville's mini-camp.

He also humbly acknowledged the expectations that will come with being drafted so highly-particularly as an unknown commodity.

"It definitely does put a chip on my shoulder, just wanting to work harder and show that I am worthy of the pick," he said.

The Bears were the only Pac-10 team to have a player selected on day one of the draft.

Still hoping to have their names called when selections resume tomorrow are cornerback Syd'Quan Thompson, offensive tackle Mike Tepper and receiver Nyan Boateng, among others.

Jack Wang of The Daily Californian contributed to this report.


Correction: Sunday, April 25, 2010
A previous version of this article stated that this was the first time two Cal players had been selected in the first round in the last decade. In fact, both Kyle Boller and Nnamdi Asomugha were selected in the first round in 2003.

The Daily Californian regrets the error.

Contact Gabriel Baumgaertner at [email protected]

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