With the No. 46 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills have selected Oregon linebacker Kiko Alonso. The pick was made with an additional second-round pick acquired in a Thursday night trade with the St. Louis Rams.
One of the most versatile linebackers available in this year's draft class, the 6'3", 238-pound Alonso was a two-year starter at Oregon after missing the entire 2010 season with a knee injury. In those two years, Alonso accumulated 127 tackles, 20 tackles for a loss, a sack and four interceptions.
That last statistic is of particular importance, because at first blush, Alonso is a thumper - he's a linebacker that thrives on contact. His coverage ability, size and range makes him one of the more well-rounded linebacker prospects in this draft class, and he's an excellent skill complement to 2012 fourth-round pick Nigel Bradham, who will likely be the starting weak-side linebacker. Alonso's on-field temperament has led to some durability concerns, so that'll be something to keep an eye on.
There are character concerns with Alonso - he's had some issues with alcohol that led to a suspension - but in a high-character locker room like Buffalo's, those issues should be put to rest permanently. Mike Pettine gets a quality defender at the team's clear weak area on defense, and there's a strong chance that Alonso could supplant 2011 third-round pick Kelvin Sheppard as the starting middle linebacker next year.