When people think of the defensive dominance that the Jacksonville Jaguars displayed during the middle of part of the '00s, they thought of two names: defensive tackles John Henderson (the anchor) and Marcus Stroud (the disrupter).
These two colossal towers of power that created a teal wall that repelled opposing running backs and ran into unfortunate opposing quarterbacks that were unable to get out of their way.
Will they live up to the legacy of the Teal Wall of Duval?
Terrance Knighton, the anchor of the defensive tackle duo, was selected in the 3rd round, 72nd overall in the 2009 NFL Draft out of Temple University. Initially seen as an overdrafted nose tackle with a weight problem from a small school, he has turned heads around the league and has become known nationally as "Pot Roast".
As a matter of fact, his success at the NFL level probably helped to raise the draft stock of fellow defensive tackle and Temple alumnus, Muhammad Wilkerson.
Going into his third year, Knighton has continued to struggle with his weight, but when he is in football shape, he is an immovable object that holds the point of attack and occasionally disrupts the backfield. In 2010, he had four sacks and an interception and he showed up on many national "Pro Bowl snub" lists.
If Knighton continues to develop as a pass rusher, he could possibly become Gene Smith's first draft pick to make the Pro Bowl.
Tyson Alualu, the penetrator of the duo, was selected 10th overall in the 2010 NFL Draft out of the University of California-Berkley. Gene Smith surprised many by picking Alualu, a projected late 1st rounder while Tim Tebow, a hometown athlete with many fans nationwide (which would have immediately boosted ticket sales), was still available.
Many "fans" decided to stop supporting the Jaguars and start supporting the Broncos (who conveniently played against the Jaguars in week one of the 2010 season). Other fans, while skeptical of the pick, waited to see what Alualu could do.
When Week One arrived, Alualu rewarded the faith of the fanbase by helping to stop Tebow twice and earning his first career sack in the game.
Now, going into his second year, Alualu has shown signs of being a dominant force in the first two preseason games, creating havoc in the backfield, even without Knighton right next to him. The most improved aspect of his game, his spin rush. Last year, he would try the spin and he would end up running into another defender. Now, he's setting them up and then spinning, leaving linemen grasping at air (making them look completely foolish.)
If you have the Jaguars-Falcons game Tivo'd, try focusing on him in the second quarter, where he was pushing his man around. That is a very promising sign that Alualu can be a future star in this league.
Tags: 2009 NFL Draft, 2010 NFL Draft, Jacksonville, Jacksonville Jaguars, Terrance Knighton, Tyson Alualu