SPOTLIGHT: Dont'a Hightower vs Jimmy Graham

Ian Logue
August 08, 2012 at 03:44pm ET

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Hightower got to battle against some solid competition this week. (FILE:USPresswire)

It's been a couple of productive days, with the New England Patriots and New Orelans Saints conducting joint practices down at Gillette Stadium and getting some extra work in heading into Thursday night's exhibition game.

Both teams got an opportunity to battle against some of the best players in the league, one battle in particular caught the eyes of quite a few who were on hand to see it.

Patriots rookie Dont'a Hightower battled hard against the Saints Jimmy Graham, and there's certainly nothing wrong with getting some work in against one of the best players in the league, and that's what the first year linebacker experienced going against the Saints all-pro tight end.

Hightower had his moments over the past couple of days, but now that it's behind them Graham finished as the victor in that match-up and ended up with Gronk-like spike on Wednesday after scoring another touchdown.  Hightower made him work for it and was with him in coverage, but he was out-jumped by the Saints veteran who made a great catch for the score.

The rookie linebacker so far has been a big bright spot throughout training camp and it was good to see him get a chance to go up against someone like Graham.  He's shown pretty good speed for his size, and so far most reports have pointed out that Hightower hasn't been afraid to get physical with receivers and has done a good job knocking them off their routes.

Wednesday's touchdown didn't come easy for Graham, who landed hard on his back but held on with Hightower right there, and this photo gives a great look at the play.