Listening to a lot of the experts, most seem to believe that first round pick Dont’a Hightower is ready to play right now in the NFL.
Dont’a Hightower is excited to be a Patriot. (FILE:USPresswire)
Which is a good thing, because it definitely sounds like he’s excited to get out there.
The linebacker out of Alabama joins Brandon Spikes and Jerod Mayo to put together what should be an exciting group heading into next season, and Hightower admitted that the chance to play with both of those guys is something he’s looking forward to.
“That would mean a lot to me,” said Hightower when asked about the chance to play alongside Mayo and Spikes. Â ”I watched Jerod Mayo when he was playing at Tennessee. I’ve seen a lot of Brandon Spikes with him playing at Florida and us banging heads in the SEC. Playing alongside those guys â€“ those are two really good inside linebackers and I feel like we could have a really good linebacking corps.”
Hightower told reporters that he hadn’t worked out for New England, but that he he had a ‘small amount’ of an idea that they were interested. Â According to the rookie he met with them at the Combine and the Pro Days, and he said he was suprised when they picked him because he actually thought he may have been picked when the Patriots moved up the first time and grabbed Syracuse’s Chandler Jones.
“You know, I was on the second one,” said Hightower. “I thought they might have picked me the first time, but they traded back up the second time and grabbed me, so I’m grateful for that.”
Hightower told reporters that while Alabama coach Nick Saban ‘never really’ talked to him about the Patriots, there were a couple of players he had talked to who told him New England’s defense is similar to what he did in Alabama. Â One of those players is former Crimson Tide standout Brandon Deaderick, who in his second season in New England played in 10 games and finished with 17 tackles and 2 sacks.
Hightower told Alabama Live that he talked to Deaderick a couple days before and Deaderick told him that there was a possibility that the Patriots could potentially grab him.
“I talked to Deaderick a couple days before and he told me that they might slide up and come get me and they did,” said Hightower. “It’s going to feel good to have at least one familiar face on the new team I’m going to.”
Whatever the plan is for next season, whether it’s 3-4 or 4-3 Hightower feels that he’s versatile enough to do whatever Belichick needs him to.
“I’m versatile and I can play all different kinds of positions,” said Hightower. “It’s more or less about the scheme and the philosophy. It gets a lot more technical about what position it is. I’m going to get to the ball and I’m going to make plays on the ball, regardless of whether it’s a 4-3 or a 3-4.”
For now he joins a football team who is coming off of a Super Bowl appearance and if things go well could potentially contest for another this season. Hightower is a guy who is used to winning, and he told Alabama Live that it’s going to be nice being part of an organization who is accustomed to the same success.
Hightower told AL.com after the draft, “It feels good coming from a winning team and going to a team that’s won multiple Super Bowls in the last couple of years.”
Hopefully he’s part of the reason they win another championship – or more – here in New England in the coming years.