Golden Bears have intriguing prospects

Updated: September 18, 2009, 12:16 PM ET
By Kevin Weidl
Scouts Inc. will be in the Twin Cities this weekend for the California-Minnesota game, and we're excited to see more than just the brand-new TCF Bank Stadium.

My colleage Steve Muench broke down the intriguing perimeter matchup between Golden Bears CB Syd'Quan Thompson and Golden Gophers WR Eric Decker in an earlier blog entry, but there are a trio of California prospects who are also worth watching this week.

The first is DT Tyson Alualu, a 6-foot-2, 291-pounder who is a bit undersized to line up and anchor inside in the NFL. Aluala also lacks the quickness to be an effective edge rusher in a 4-3 system, so in our opinion his best fit is as a 5-technique (head-up/inside shoulder vs. offensive tackle) in a 3-4 scheme.

Aluala has above-average upper- and lower-body strength and should have no problem getting push against the Minnesota offensive line in the running game, but after watching film we want to see a more explosive initial punch that jars blockers and gets them off-balance. We'll also be keeping an eye on Aluala's balance because he sometimes lunges and falls to his feet, and he must do a better job of protecting his legs against cut blocks.

Lateral mobility is also an are of concern for Aluala because he shows only adequate abilit in pursuit and that is an area NFL 5-techniques must excel in. He also has to develop a wider array of pass-rush moves. Aluala is primarily a bull-rusher on film and we want to see if he had developed the ability to work half the blocker, setting him up and then using double moves to get to the passer.

Alualu is a tough player, though, and his strength and ability to shed blocks at times are what make him a fourth-round prospect at this point. But with improved first-step quickness and more variety in his pass-rush arsenal he could move himself into the third round before the season is over. Alualu has a chance to start that ascent this week against a very average Minnesota offensive line.

For a look at two more Cal prospects and the prospects making the Miami offense tick, as well as notes from around the country, become an ESPN Insider. Insider