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Mike Mayock thinks he's found this year's Kiko Alonso


Kiko Alonso was not widely viewed as a second-round talent heading into the 2013 NFL Draft.

The Buffalo Bills, however, made him just that, and Alonso paid them back by turning in a solid rookie season. The Oregon product finished with 159 tackles, third most in the NFL, two sacks, one forced fumble and four interceptions, which tied for the team high.

During a conference call this week, NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock identified the player in this year's draft he thinks most compares to Alonso -- Wisconsin's Chris Borland.

"Borland is one of my two or three favorite players this draft and the way I came on him was funny. I was getting ready to do a Notre Dame game, I think I was doing homework on BYU and the tape I happened to put in was Wisconsin and I was like, this 44 is everywhere," Mayock said. "So I was kind of hooked on him early and every tape I've seen since then reinforces that he could have the ability to be the Kiko Alonso of this year's group.  I think he's probably going to go in the second round.

"I think he's going to start for whatever team takes him and as long as he stays healthy, he's just going to keep making plays.  The kid makes plays.  He's around the football all the time and I love watching him play football."

Borland finished his Wisconsin career ranked sixth in program history with 420 total tackles and fourth in tackles for loss (50). He also set a Big Ten record  with 15 forced fumbles, the second most in Football Bowl Subdivision history.

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About the reporters

Vic Carucci returned to The Buffalo News as a Bills beat reporter in September. Carucci covered the Bills for 17 years before joining as a columnist in 1999. Prior to rejoining The News, he spent three years as a senior editor for the Cleveland Browns.

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida.