- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Chicago Bears brought in former Oregon middle linebacker Kiko Alonso on Tuesday for a pre-draft visit at Halas Hall, as the team kicked off the first day of a voluntary minicamp, according to an NFL source.
The defensive MVP of the 2012 Rose Bowl, Alonso appears to be one of very few true Tampa-2 linebackers in the upcoming drafts. But injuries and off-the-field problems have often overshadowed some of Alonso's physical gifts and contributions on the field.
Tabbed early on in the pre-draft process as a fourth- to fifth-round pick, Alonso, according to some scouts, could wind up going late in the second round or early third to a team willing to look past the injuries and off-the-field transgressions. Alonso missed the entire 2010 season due to a suspension because of a DUI arrest, before suffering a torn right ACL the following spring during workouts.
The following May, Alonso was charged with multiple offenses that resulted in two years of probation and another suspension.
Still, Alonso finished his senior season at Oregon with 81 tackles (14 for lost yardage), two forced fumbles, two recoveries and four interceptions and has generated somewhat of a buzz among the scouting community.
“I just had to move on,” Alonso said of his troubled past at the NFL Combine. “I had to put things in my past, and obviously make a couple of changes and move forward.”
Reported to carry just 9.1 percent body, Alonso (6-3 3/8, 238 pounds) is an athletic and versatile player who can fit in multiple schemes because of his combination of size, speed and physicality. Because of his ability to cover, and rare explosiveness for his position, it's believed the Bears view Alonso as a true three-down linebacker -- at all three positions -- and a potential successor to Brian Urlacher; or at the very least, a key contributor on special teams.
Considered by some to be one of the more underrated prospects at the linebacker position, Alonso has already visited the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, and the San Diego Chargers according to sources and has more pre-draft trips planned.
“Honestly, I think I can plan any spot in the 4-3 or the 3-4 defense,” Alonso said. “I think that's what sets me apart from some other guys: my versatility.”