- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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On Friday, a short list of some prospects who took pre-draft visits with the Patriots was passed along. Such a visit could mean a lot of things, which is important context to consider. It could be a medical check-up, something related to off-field questions or maybe more X’s and O’s based. A visit also gives head coach Bill Belichick a chance to get to know a prospect, which is naturally important.
On Monday, we took a closer look at two offensive linemen who visited Gillette Stadium, Tennessee’s Dallas Thomas and LSU’s Chris Faulk, and why the Patriots might have brought them to town (with help from Scouts Inc. and the Pro Football Weekly draft preview).
Now let's do the same with Oregon linebacker Kiko Alonso.
Height: 6-foot-3 3/8
Key workout stats: His 4.18 time in short shuttle was best among LBs at combine; 4.72 time in 40 (ranked 12th among LBs)
Key playing stats: 14 tackles for losses, 4 INTs, 2 forced fumbles
Honors: Named Defensive MVP of 2012 Rose Bowl
All-Star Games: Invited to 2013 Senior Bowl
QUICK-HIT THOUGHTS: The Patriots have all three starting linebackers returning in 2013, but that doesn't necessarily mean they won't focus on the position in the draft. For one, starting middle linebacker Brandon Spikes enters the final year of his contract and the club could have 2014 in mind with any draft pick. Second, with Spikes and Dont'a Hightower splitting time in sub packages last season, some believe the need for more of a pure coverage linebacker exists. This is where Alonso, who the Pro Football Weekly draft preview calls "a run-and-hit, search-and-flow Tampa-2 linebacker," could fit. Alonso is the type of prospect who would also factor into the special teams mix. His visit to the Patriots could have been tied to off-field run-ins with the law in 2010 and 2011, with the club looking to gain more comfort in him away from the field. The Pro Football Weekly draft preview projects Alonso as a mid-round pick.