Kristian “Kiko” Alonso has seen one of the largest rises in draft stock in the past three months, but still hasn’t garnered the notoriety that most prospects normally receive.
In his four seasons as an inside linebacker at the University of Oregon, Alonso totaled 143 tackles, with six interceptions and 3.5 sacks. His most notable career game came in the 2011 Rose Bowl against Wisconsin where he racked up five tackles, one interception, 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks en route to being named Defensive Player of the Game.
I was quick to write him off as he decided to not participate in any of the on-field drills at the NFL Combine, leaving me somewhat perplexed as to where he stood mentally.
It is without a doubt that Alonso possesses the skill and athleticism to get drafted in the NFL, but like most prospects nowadays, it isn’t what he does on the field that has front offices worried: it is what he does off the field.
During his Pro Day at Oregon, Alonso quieted critics by presenting himself as a mature and changed football player, proving that he is only worried about football and being the best that he can be. He also performed incredibly well running a 4.74 second 40-yard dash and a vertical leap of 30.5 inches.
Most mock drafts have Alonso being taken in the mid-to-late second or third round.
Picking him here would be a steal for any team that is looking for help at the linebacker position. For example, the Minnesota Vikings, Kansas City Chiefs or Baltimore Raves would all be perfect landing spots for Alonso.
For the 2013 NFL Draft, Alonso is my player to pay attention to. Even though he hasn’t gained the spotlight of most media outlets, Alonso has NFL Scouts salivating over his athletic skills and NFL front offices more and more confident that he is mature enough to handle everything that accompanies being in the NFL.