The Jacksonville Jaguar's first-round selection of defensive lineman Tyson Alualu, 10th overall, set off gasps in New York, North Florida and around the country, ranking as the first major surprise of the 2010 draft.
Mel Kiper -- who I know is not the end-all or be-all -- said it qualified as a reach by half a round, or roughly 16 picks.
Alualu is a versatile defensive lineman out of Cal who’s projected as a Darnell Dockett type of player. He can stuff the run and rush off the edge.
Jacksonville may have liked running back C.J. Spiller and I feel sure they liked Rolando McClain. With them both off the board, the players available at the No. 10 included ends Derrick Morgan and Jason Pierre-Paul or safety Earl Thomas.
Instead the Jags, who were sure to be trying to trade down, went with Alualu.
GM Gene Smith was not afraid to stray from convention last year, though he waited until the second and third rounds, where he did well in selecting Eben Britton, Terrance Knighton and Derek Cox. All those guys are on track to be long-term contributors.
Write-ups make Alualu sound like a quality leader with the sort of personality Smith likes.
He may need to be just that to match or surpass the expectations the Jaguars just created for him.