Name: Dont’a Hightower

Position: Linebacker

School: Alabama

Selected: Round 1, Pick 25

Height: 6 – 2

Weight: 265

Strengths:

– Smart, instinctive, versatile and rarely comes off the field. His football IQ is off the charts.

– Great tackler and a force at the point of attack. Very physical.

– Experienced in a pro defense and a consistent playmaker.

– Fast for his size and can get after opposing QBs.

– Strong technique and does a great job shedding opposing players.

– Knows his role and assignment and diagnoses the play very quickly.

Weaknesses:

– Durability concerns. A season-ending knee injury cost Hightower the majority of the 2009 campaign.

– Does not cover a large amount of field

Analysis:

Throughout his career at Alabama, Dont’a Hightower has shown he can play in the NFL. He is a tough, physical, in-the-box defender that can break down plays in a hurry. While being very strong against the run, he also showed he could make plays defending the pass. Hightower has a unique blend of size and speed (ran a 4.62 40 yard dash at the Combine).

Hightower does a tremendous job shedding blocks, fighting through the trash and locating the ball carrier. The massive linebacker is a rare specimen who has the quickness and agility to be able to play in space. In the end, I am not surprised Belichick selected the Alabama captain, it seems like he was meant to be a Patriot.

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