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Buffalo Bills' Kiko Alonso making early case for Defensive Rookie of the Year

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Buffalo's second-round middle linebacker is off to a cracking start in his debut NFL season.

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Nine of the past 10 winners of the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year award have played the linebacker position. Buffalo Bills rookie Kiko Alonso has done his level best through his first four NFL games to keep the streak alive for his position.

Alonso intercepted two passes in the Bills' 23-20 Week 4 win over the Baltimore Ravens, including a game-clinching grab off of a deflected pass with less than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter. It was the third consecutive game that Alonso recorded an interception - which hasn't happened for a Bills rookie since Jairus Byrd did it in five straight in 2009 - and his fourth straight with a turnover recorded.

In his first four pro games, Alonso has accumulated 32 tackles, the aforementioned four interceptions, a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery (the latter two coming in the team's season-opening loss to New England). He's currently tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with cornerbacks Aqib Talib of New England and Alterraun Verner of Tennessee. Most impressively, he's been able to log his impressive start while playing every single snap on defense for the Bills.

There's a long way to go, to be sure, but Alonso has clearly and effectively stated his case for DROY early in his debut NFL season.