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He can play inside or outside backer, he can play mike or will inside. He’s played them both here. He can play outside, he’s been a designated pass rusher on 3 downs for us. He’s also been a stand-up fourth rusher when they put all the linebackers in there. He can play any one of those positions.
He’s a smart guy, he’s a signal caller that has really good leadership qualities and understands football extremely well and has a lot of diversity in terms of how you can use him. When you’ve got guys that size, that speed and that athletic who can do so many things, those guys don’t come around very often.
Isn't Hightower an Inside Linebacker ? How is that a DE replacement ?
so how do we utilize hightower because i keep hearing that we're loaded at his position...
Pass defense: Top zone awareness kept him on the field in passing situations despite average speed. Drops to first-down marker quickly and watches for crossers in front of him. Very aware of RB routes with effort to attack throws to the sideline. Lacks speed and short-area quickness to handle NFL slot receivers and better tight ends in man coverage; can struggle to track and catch up with misdirection. Manhandles receivers at the line of scrimmage.
Him and Jones..man..what a draft..can not wait to see these guys on the field in the fall
Those are all fine comparisons, but the one I immediately thought of was an offensive player. Dont’a Hightower can be the Aaron Hernandez of the defense.
Opposing defenses always have to be on edge when Hernandez is on the field, which at this point is nearly every snap. Hernandez can line up out wide as a split end, he can line up in line as a tight end, he can line up as a joker, an H-Back, a fullback, a halfback, in the slot, he can run the ball, catch the ball, run block, and very rarely, pass block. He’s the player that is almost impossible to account for. If the Patriots have three WRs, Gronk and Hernandez on the field, you’d assume a passing play was coming. But since Hernandez can also run the ball out of the backfield, you can never be entirely sure.
With Hightower on the field, similar deception can be employed. Hightower can be used at SILB, WOLB and SOLB in a 3-4, and MLB, SLB and DE in a 4-3 alignment. In nickel and sub packages, he can play linebacker in a zone cover role and he can rush standing up or with his hand down. Since we’ve seen it from Fletcher, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Hightower line up at DT at least once as well.