It's difficult to say if they actually planned on using any of these characters. They likely didn't have a super large pool of concept work to pull from at the time.
Yes, I like Yooka (far) better, yes he's bulky but:
- DK was bulky / well-built
- Yooka and Laylee changed a lot from initial sketches. This tiger character probably would have looked quite interesting, had they continued to develop, then animate the design.