When the Buffalo Bills traded back with the St. Louis Rams during the 2013 NFL draft, they knew that they could secure the top QB on their draft board, E.J. Manuel, with the 16th pick. What they got in return was a much-needed second-round pick. The Bills had numerous holes on their roster and getting an extra second-day pick could immediately fill a need for them. After nabbing Manuel and WR Robert Woods, the Bills turned to the LB position. They made a risky selection when they drafted Kiko Alonso, an athletic but sometimes troubled kid, out of the University of Oregon.
Any concerns on or off the field have been quelled by Alonso. He’s said that he had grown up since his arrests in his early years at college and he’s been a model citizen. It’s been what he’s done on the field, however, that makes the risk look even better for the Bills. Through his first four games as a pro, Alonso has put up an impressive stat line. He has 32 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and four INTs. He leads the team in tackles and INTs at the quarter mark of the season. He’s also tied for the league lead in interceptions with two CBs — Aqib Talib and Alterraun Verner.
Alonso has made his big plays timely as well. He recovered a Tom Brady fumble on fourth and one deep in Buffalo territory during Week 1, he intercepted Cam Newton deep in Buffalo territory to curb their momentum in Week 2 and just this week he sealed the Bills’ victory with his second INT of Joe Flacco late in the fourth quarter. Right now, you could make the argument that Alonso is the leading candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year. In a season where the Bills needed big contributions from their younger players, Alonso is giving them everything that they hoped for and more.