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Alabama LBs, Dont'a Hightower vs Courtney Upshaw - who's best and why?

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by PATSNUTme, Feb 20, 2012.

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  1. PATSNUTme

    PATSNUTme Paranoid Homer Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'll admit that in 20+ years following the draft, I don't think that I have ever been so high on 4 players from one teams defense as I am Alabama's. Barron, Kirkpatrick, Hightower and Upshaw are players that I would want on the Patriots.

    I've only watched a few Bama games this year, maybe 4, but Hightower has always stood out to me in every game that I've watched. But yet Upshaw is rated higher than him in just about every draft rating. They have nearly size and speed.

    So, what is it I'm missing with Upshaw? For those of you who have watched games what has Upshaw done to be rated higher? Or is it that they both are almost the same but the raters think Upshaw will be a better pro?

    BTW, I know that one is an OLB and the other is an ILB. But I've seen them switch positions with Hightower playing the OLB and Upshaw playing inside.
     
  2. manxman2601

    manxman2601 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    I agree completely with you on the Alabama D. I've never enjoyed watching defense as much as I do them (and that includes the 85 Bears).

    As for Upshaw v Hightower, it's simple, he gets more sacks. Having said that, I think Hightower has the greater upside and is a much better pick for the Pats. Two things about Hightower really impress me:

    1. Despite the claims that he lacks athleticism, he's actually very sudden and gets to the QB or RB in the backfield very quickly.

    2. He steps up his performance for big plays. One of the knocks on him is that he takes plays off and it's true that he can give that impression on occasion. But when it's third and short or third or long or is in position to make a play in the backfield, he really ups his game.

    I've watched quite a few 'Bama game games and it's almost always Barron, Kirkpatrick and Hightower that stand out. Would love to get two of the three.
     
  3. Sciz

    Sciz PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Upshaw is 6' 1.5" tall and has 31.5" arms. That won't cut it in a Belichick defense. There may be arguments in other, more aggressive defenses, but for the Pats it's Hightower by a fair margin.
     
  4. VrabelJr

    VrabelJr In the Starting Line-Up

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    Hightower for sure. Upshaw seems better off as a DE in the NFL imo. Although he might be a really good one dimensional 3-4 OLB ala DeMarcus Ware.

    As for why you're so high up on Barron and Kirkpatrick, that's a bit of a mystery to me. But I won't let this get off topic.
     
  5. Criptonite

    Criptonite Practice Squad Player

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    I agree. Upshaw's measurables don't seem to even be in the ballpark of what we look for in an OLB. As for Hightower, I'm really interested in seeing how he does at the combine. I get the impression he's more of a Brandon Spikes type. Not the best athlete in the world, but makes up for it with great instincts. If that's the case, I don't think he'd be a fit for us outside. As of right now, the only player in the draft I see as a fit is Clemson's Andre Branch.
     
  6. manxman2601

    manxman2601 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    #24 Jersey

    Well, for one thing, they tackle. so there's an upgrade right there.
     
  7. captain stone

    captain stone Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    No Jersey Selected

    If by one-dimensional you mean the best OLB in football, then you are correct.

    And in case you or anyone else hasn't noticed, we need all the one-dimensional 3-4 OLBs
    ala DeMarcus Ware that we can grab.
     
  8. doesntmatter1

    doesntmatter1 Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    This is weird, but whenever i watch upshaw I think to myself this is what BB was trying to turn piere woods into. The guy sets the edge likes its no ones business and can get to the qb occasionally. I actually think he's a fit for our team better than any other olb.

    Now onto hightower. The way they use him feels very similar to the way we use ninkovitch. But unlike our ninko, he has very long arms and doesn't slide off his target when attempting to make a tackle.
     
  9. thodoks

    thodoks On the Roster

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    2012 Dont'a Hightower = 2004 Karlos Dansby
     
  10. celticboy04

    celticboy04 On the Game Day Roster

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    Greetings,
    Being that I have watched every Alabama game, I agree with you on Upshaw. I felt early in the year both were on the same level, but the Patriots need more of what Upshaw brings instead. Mainly because they have Mayo, and Spikes has improved a lot. Hightower is not a stranger to playing with his hand in the grass, even though he only had three sacks. On many third down plays he played defensive end.

    Even though they are both linebackers they are two totally different players. I see Upshaw playing anywhere in the linebacking core in the NFL, except 4-3 MLB. I also think he could play defensive end in the 4-3 as well.

    Celticboy04
     
  11. Wilfork#75

    Wilfork#75 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    #75 Jersey

    I'm probably in the minority on here, but I think Upshaw is clearly the superior prospect. Don't get me wrong, I like Hightower, but I think Upshaw is a monster. Like DeMarcus Ware, Upshaw is one dimensional, but that dimension is being awesome at playing football. Sure he may not have the ideal measurable's, but he has the skill set to do everything required out of a 3-4 OLB. I actually think his height helps him, because combined with his power, he is able to out-leverage offensive lineman and be completely dominant. He also has the speed to go around the edge, and the instincts to break up passes into the flats. But what separates Upshaw from all of the other OLB prospects over the past few years is he can play the run, and play it well. He is the most dominant run defending OLB I have seen coming out of college and I think it is going to translate well into the NFL. Unfortunately these are all reasons he will be a top 15 pick.

    I think Hightower is also very talented, but unlike some others on here, I don't think he can be an every down 3-4 OLB. I don't see the lateral agility to play on the outside and I don't see the flexibility to consistently bend around the edge. What I do see is a monster 3-4 ILB, that can occasionally rush from the outside, because what he does possess is one hell of a bull rush (just watch him put DJ Fluker on his *** ). Unfortunately that means I don't really see a spot for him on this defense because I don't think he would be that much of an upgrade on Spikes to be worth a 1st round pick. And I don't think he is a fit as a 4-3 OLB.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012
  12. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I LOVE this line!! :rocker: Slightly adjusted for my amusement. :D >>>

    Reminds me of...

    "Yeah....a Professor...of being a DOG!!"

    [​IMG]

    Yeah, I am easily amused!! :D
     
  13. VrabelJr

    VrabelJr In the Starting Line-Up

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    He's the best Jack OLB which is all he is asked to do. Unfortunately the Patriots don't use their Jack OLBs just for pass rushing... which is why most people on this board prefer Hightower to Upshaw being that Hightower could play the Jack spot but do more than just get after the passer.
     
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