The biggest steal of the 2013 NFL Draft thus far has been that of Buffalo Bills linebacker Kiko Alonso. Drafted just 46th overall, Alonso has been a big surprise, looking like an early front-runner for the Defensive Rookie of the Year award while notching 44 tackles, four interceptions, four passes defensed, one sack and one forced fumble in five games, and was just named September’s Defensive Rookie of the Month.
“When he came in, right away it was like he’s moving a lot faster than everybody else,” Bills coach Doug Marrone said. “Our expectations are high and we’re excited about him. He’s actually getting better and better each week, too, all little things that maybe people can’t see.”
Alonso has started every game this year, and seems to be making at least one game-changing play every week. His signature play of the year thus far was his diving interception of Joe Flacco in Week Four to seal the win against the Baltimore Ravens.
“I mean, he’s amazing,” said fellow linebacker Manny Lawson. “To be young and coming into this league, he’s not necessarily just making a name for himself – he’s making a statement. He plays every snap. He covers sideline to sideline. He’ll rush, he’ll drop and I know he’ll hit you. He’s a playmaker in every sense.”
In preparation for Alonso and the Bills this week, we asked Dennis Amo of Buffalowdown to give us a brief assessment of Alonso’s impact thus far on the Bills:
Kiko has been nothing but stellar. His play on the field as been up there with veterans that have been in the league for years. He is able to read plays and diagnose them quickly and he is able to cover 5-7 yards within seconds of the play starting and get a tackle for loss. It is simply amazing to see how a rookie can be this developed in play recognition.
The Bengals will need to make it a point to get a hat on Alonso when running the ball, and Andy Dalton has to realize this is one of the better coverage linebackers he’ll have faced this season. Even with the Bills undermanned and dealing with so many injuries, Alonso has shown he’s capable of making game-changing plays that could propel the Bills to an upset on Sunday.
Jason Marcum, Stripe Hype