The legend of Bills MLB Kiko Alonso is apparently still growing. He now sits atop the rookie rankings of ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper in his latest column.
I wrote up Kiko Alonso in my 2013 draft guide as one of the top six inside linebackers in the draft. I thought he was hurt a little bit because, although he has outstanding athleticism, he didn’t work out at the combine, which inevitably provides a bump to the best athletes. He also had only one year as a full-time starter at Oregon. But one of Alonso’s great skills at Oregon was his ability to “sift through the trash” (scouting phrase) and deal with traffic. In other words, he was able to see the ball and make plays through blocking havoc and contact, maintaining his balance and quickness.
I think those skills have made the transition easier for him. The game, and the traffic, just doesn’t seem to move too quickly for him, just as it didn’t at Oregon. So far this season, the Buffalo Bills have benefited. Although Alonso might lack experience, he plays with great instincts and has that extra set of eyes to make plays amid all the chaos.
This week, he moves to the top of my Rookie Rankings, barely edging out another AFC East star.
1. Kiko Alonso, ILB, Buffalo Bills: Continues to perform at a consistently high level week in and week out. Through Week 9, he’s third in the NFL in total tackles, with 89 (just one behind leaders Vontaze Burfict and Sean Lee), and has four interceptions, which is most on the team, plus he gets a bonus because he literally has not come off the field for the Bills’ defense, so he has played nearly 700 snaps. He is not playing perfect football, but he’s been a huge part of the defensive rise for Buffalo.
For those that missed it Buffalobills.com had Alonso wired for sound in last week’s game against Kansas City. Robert Woods and EJ Manuel were listed in the ‘Next in Line’ category for Kiper, kind of like an honorable mention.
The other AFC East star that Kiper was referring to was the Jets’ DT Sheldon Richardson.
Tags: Kiko Alonso, Mel Kiper
Posted in Inside the Bills