It has been a few days since our last Miami Dolphins 90-in-90 article, mostly because I took a little off time for the long weekend. However, we are back today and turning from an undrafted free agent in the last edition to a starter in this one.
The 90-in-90 series is a breakdown of the Dolphins’ roster, player-by-player. We look at the player’s performance in the past season, why this season could see them progress, why they could regress this season, and what the chances are for the player to make the roster. The first nine posts in the series too a look at wide receiver Leonte Carroo, punter Matt Haack, safety T.J. McDonald, running back Buddy Howell, wide receiver DeVante Parker, defensive end William Hayes, wide receiver Isaiah Ford, safety/cornerback Walt Aikens, and defensive end Claudy Mathieu. Today, we move to linebacker Kiko Alonso.
Alonso moved from middle linebacker in 2016 to outside linebacker in 2017, making space for Raekwon McMillan in the middle prior to the rookie’s injury in the preseason. On the outside, Alonso - along with just about everyone on the team - struggled in coverage on tight ends, but he was still a solid linebacker for the team. He finished the year second on the team with 115 tackles, along with one pass defensed, two forced fumbles, and one sack.
Why he will progress
A second year on the outside should help Alonso develop into his role. Dolphins head coach Adam Gase has said he wants Alonso to be more aggressive this year, playing more like he did in 2016, and, if Alonso is able to make that happen, he should be able to pick up his play. It felt like Alonso was thinking more than he was instinctively playing at times last year, so he will need to get back to that style.
Why he will regress
Alsono is the elder statesmen of the linebacker corps now, even at just 27, and there are younger players trying to make an impact. McMillan and 2018 third-round draft-pick Jerome Baker appear to be the other two starting linebackers, with players like Stephone Anthony and Chase Allen potentially pushing for playing time. Alonso feels like he is best suited as a middle linebacker, so forcing him into an outside role - McMillan appears to be locked into the middle position - again could continue to see him under perform.
Chances of making the 53-man roster
Alonso is on the roster and will be a starter. He likely will be an every-down linebacker, at least early in the season. He could see some snaps cut as the team rotates players into the game as the season continues.