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90-in-90: Miami Dolphins roster breakdowns, LB Kiko Alonso

90 Dolphins players in 90 articles. Let’s make sure we know our roster from top to bottom. It’d be a shame if ESPN knows us better.

NFL: New York Jets at Miami Dolphins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Looking back on the trade with the Philadelphia Eagles, getting Kiko Alonso and Byron Maxwell seems like pennies on the dollar now. Kiko bounced back in a major way in 2016, and one could argue that he was the only LB who made plays for the Miami Dolphins last year.

It’ll be an interesting debate where Kiko lines up in 2017. Does he return as MLB? Do we shift him outside to Will? Ultimately, it might be a moot point. The Miami Dolphins defensive coaching staff will find a way to get the best players on the field, and Kiko is one of our top 2 LB’s, in my humble opinion.

Kiko Alonso, 6’3”, 239

Game Tape - #47

Let’s start with a strange play. Kiko trips over Bobby McCain, recovers, chases down Lance Kendricks, pokes the ball out from behind, and then recovers the fumble.

Although the Dolphins LB’s had questionable gap integrity at times last year, Kiko is disciplined in this department. He flows well, stays ahead of the guard, snatches the -4 yard TFL as Melvin Gordon tries to cut back inside.

Kiko wins a massive collision with New England’s fullback, and tackles LeGarrette Blount for a minimal gain.

Phinsiders, what do you think of this play? Is this horrible coverage by Kiko or did the deep safety fail at his responsibility (looks like Kiko is expecting bracket help, but the deep safety bites from Garoppolo’s eye/head manipulation)? It’s likely there’s a kernel of truth to both scenarios, but I’m curious how you guys and gals judge this play.

Let’s end on a good note. My favorite play from 2016 (narrowly ahead of Jay Ajayi’s miraculous 3 yard run @ Buffalo to score a TD).

Why He Might Succeed

He’s a leader on and off the field, with demonstrated success in our scheme. He’s versatile enough to play different LB positions. In 2013, Kiko earned Rookie Defensive Player of the Year, no denying the talent. I’m no soothsayer, but it seemed like Kiko returned to his “old self” after he battled injuries (some argue he wasn’t appropriately used in the Eagles scheme, either).

He has an ongoing feud with LeSean McCoy and nearly broke Colin Kaepernick’s entire body at the 2 yard line - OK, these things don’t in and of themselves guarantee success - they just make him successful at being a badass.

The Miami Dolphins extended his contract and paid him $18.5 million guaranteed, so I’m fairly confident he’s already succeeded. Let’s see if the money begets consistent production.

Why He Might Not

Injuries, especially if it’s knee trouble again.

Odds of Making Roster

99.9%. Fans might get caught up on which LB position he’ll play, but keep in mind: snap counts > what LB position he’s playing. I’m sure I speak for everyone, in that, it’ll be a beautiful sight if Kiko continues to make plays and ultimately reestablishes himself as one of the best young LB’s in the NFL.