Buffalo added a second-round pick in the trade with St. Louis on day one. On day two the Bills used the 46th overall pick to add a versatile linebacker for their new multiple defensive scheme under defensive coordinator Mike Pettine in Oregon LB
“Mike and the defense is excited to bring him in,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “A young player that hasn’t played as much as the other players that we’ve had. He’s shown that he can play multiple positions. He’s shown that he can play on teams. He’s shown that he’s instinctive.”
Alonso (6’4” 238) played mostly inside linebacker for the Ducks in the PAC-12, but could play outside as well for the Bills. Oregon’s defensive staff moved the athletic linebacker around a lot in their scheme.
“We played a lot of different defenses; a lot of different looks,” Alonso said. “A lot of times I was not in the box, I was in the box, up on the line or off the ball. We did a lot of stuff so I was all over the field.”
“I think he can play two (positions),” said Marrone. “He’s a big kid. You can see it on the clips. He can play man-to-man, he has good zone awareness, has a bunch of pass breakups. You see it from a coverage standpoint and then you also see him coming downhill making plays and he has a lot of tackles for losses. So he can make big plays from that linebacker position in both coverage and the running game.”
A two-year starter after missing the 2010 season because of a team-imposed suspension for off the field troubles, Alonso put up his best numbers as a senior with 81 tackles, four interceptions, two forced fumbles a pair of fumble recoveries and a sack.
Bills GM Buddy Nix believes after two productive seasons and no off the field problems since 2010 that Alonso has matured and put his troubles behind him.
“He did some things early and it was alcohol related, never drug related. It wasn’t criminal. Everyone else would maybe social drink, he had too many and that one night he had that incident,” said Nix. “He’s gone to counseling since then and that was his junior year I think. They constantly monitored him and he hasn’t had any problems since. We see a lot of those guys. Everybody needs a second chance. We think it’s a good risk with him.”
Alonso clocked a 4.68 40-time at his Oregon pro day and believes with his length he could offer Buffalo’s defense a host of options.
“I feel like I can play any spot in that system,” he said. “I am really excited to come out there, just compete and play hard.”
The linebacker’s best single-game performance is widely thought to be his performance in Oregon’s 2012 Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin (45-38). Alonso had five tackles, two and a half for loss, including one and a half sacks. His biggest play however, was a diving interception in the third quarter with Oregon down a field goal (38-35). The turnover led to a go-ahead touchdown for the Ducks. Alonso was named Defensive MVP.
The linebacker does have a knee injury in his medical history, suffered in 2010, but his played over the past two seasons showed he was fit to play and perform at the next level. Alonso additionally had a wrist injury, which kept him from testing fully during the pre-draft process.
“I had a wrist injury midseason and I was actually cleared about three weeks ago for full activity,” he said. “So I am good to go.”