Alualu was the first Pac-10 player drafted Thursday night — which was projected by no one — going 10th overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars, while Bears teammate Jahvid Best was the only other conference player selected on Day 1. Best went to the Detroit Lions with the 30th pick.
Round 2 begins today at 6 p.m. ET. Expect the second round to include a number of Pac-10 players, including those who slipped during recent weeks, such as USC safety Taylor Mays and UCLA defensive tackle Brian Price.
Alualu is the highest Cal selection since Andre Carter was taken seventh overall by San Francisco in 2001. He is the Bears’ ninth top-10 pick in the draft’s history. And his selection was rated the “biggest reach” of the first day by Todd McShay.
Wrote McShay, “Jacksonville used the 10th overall pick to take California DT Tyson Alualu, who we feel is a good player but is only the No. 35 overall on our board. Top-10 money is pretty rich for a player like Alualu, especially when pass-rushers like Derrick Morgan and Jason Pierre-Paul would have offered much more value at that point.”
Another notable pick is the Seattle Seahawks’ selection of safety Earl Thomas at No. 14. That means former USC coach Pete Carroll wanted a safety but didn’t want Mays.
Got to admit: I thought at least one team would jump on Mays just because of his athleticism, much like it took only one team to make Tim Tebow a No. 1 pick (Denver).
Another observation: Former Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford going No. 1 overall is a good thing for college football. It shows players who want to come back for their senior season that even a major injury won’t automatically ruin your draft prospects.
Of course, Mays right now is probably questioning his decision to return, considering he likely would have been a top-15 pick in 2009.