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mesaSteeler
03-09-2012, 06:31 AM
The Steel Mill
News and updates about the Pittsburgh Steelers
http://blog.triblive.com/steel-mill/2012/03/08/kiper-has-steelers-picking-bama-lb/


Kiper has Steelers picking ‘Bama LB
March 8th, 2012

ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. has the Steelers taking Alabama linebacker Dont’a Hightower in the first round of his most recent mock draft.

Kiper, during a conference call Thursday afternoon, said the 6-2 ½, 265-pound Hightower has answered any questions about the torn ACL he suffered his sophomore season at Alabama.

“He’s getting back to the form he showed early on,” Kiper said. “How many 265-pound linebackers can run and get the job done like he can? There’s a lot of roles he could play but in Pittsburgh he would be a key edition.”

The Steelers conducted a formal interview with Hightower at the NFL Combine late last month. Their need for a linebacker such as Hightower has only increased following the release of James Farrior.

Hightower ran a 4.68 in the 40 at the Combine, which won’t dazzle teams but should convince them that his speed won’t be an issue at the next level. I get the sense that the Steelers are trying to determine if Hightower is truly a first-round prospect and that they want to be certain their evaluation of him isn’t skewed by two factors.

They are: The help the Steelers need at inside linebacker and the reality that if they don’t take one early they might not find a long-term replacement for Farrior.

General manager Kevin Colbert attended the first of two Alabama Pro Days Wednesday in Tuscaloosa. The Steelers can get another look at Hightower at the end of the month when Alabama stages a second workout for draft prospects.
Two other items of note from Kiper’s conference call:

– Kiper said comparisons between Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe and Ravens Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata are premature if not off base.

But Kiper is of the belief that Poe, who blew away teams at the Combine with his blend of size, strength and speed, will be gone well before the Steelers make their first-round pick (No. 24 overall).

“He’s not as intense, not as physical as some of the other defensive tackles for a player his size,” Kiper said of Poe. “But he moves so well and had such a great workout. I think he could go in the top 15.

“I don’t think he’s going to be Haloti Ngata. I think that’s a little bit of a stretch to say he’s going to be that type of player but certainly there’s going to be an opportunity for him to go pretty high in the first round.”

– Kiper apparently doesn’t share Devon Still’s belief that the Penn State product is the best defensive tackle in the draft.

Kiper has Still, who made his bold claim at the Combine, slipping into the second round of the draft.

Kiper said Still’s injury history and the fact that he was a “one-year wonder” at Penn State are potential red flags. Still, he added, hasn’t “wowed” teams during the pre-draft process though Kiper called him a “a big kid with rare physical ability.”

“I thought about Pittsburgh for him,” Kiper said of Still and the first round of his latest mock draft. “Denver could use him but I ultimately pushed him into the second round.”

– Scott Brown

Kingmagyar
03-09-2012, 08:17 AM
I like that Hightower could play some OLB in pass rushing situations being the same height and weight as Woodley and even the same 40 time. One thing for sure is he brings the wood, and I'm not talking about the wood from a little blue pill.

Fire Arians
03-09-2012, 11:32 AM
I like that Hightower could play some OLB in pass rushing situations being the same height and weight as Woodley and even the same 40 time. One thing for sure is he brings the wood, and I'm not talking about the wood from a little blue pill.

I was thinking about that, he could be an effective blitzer up the middle like chad brown was. He has a way of winning those 1on1 battles against would-be blockers.

the more I think about it, the more I think the steelers are aiming for this guy. guard is pretty deep in the draft, and we could get someone better than kemo in the 2nd round. with burfict being an epic failure, the only options worth taking are hightower and kendricks. kendricks would be a project pick too, as ILB isn't his natural position (sorta like sylvester). Projects are all fine and dandy, but we will need someone who's ready to play sooner rather than later, which is why the hightower pick would make more sense.

bac151rum
03-09-2012, 12:05 PM
I think he's the best player who could help the Steelers who could and should be there. He's not my first choice (DeCastro, Poe, Keuchly, Glenn rank above him in people who will probably go 10-24) but he's one I would be happy with. Think LeBeau could work some all new blitzing schemes with him in the game.

Fire Arians
03-09-2012, 12:28 PM
yeah I agree, I'd rather go with Poe or Glenn, but realistically they will most likely be gone before 24. Glenn is a possibility, but I don't think there's any way Poe is going to drop that far.

Bayz101
03-09-2012, 01:57 PM
I'd love to have him on the team.

MasterOfPuppets
03-09-2012, 04:57 PM
whens the last time the steelers picked an inside linebacker in the 1st ??? (timmons doesn't count)

El-Gonzo Jackson
03-09-2012, 05:25 PM
whens the last time the steelers picked an inside linebacker in the 1st ??? (timmons doesn't count)

So, you are saying they are due...:wink02:

tony hipchest
03-09-2012, 09:22 PM
on their weekly radio mock tim ryan and pat kirwan had the steelers passing on both hightower and barron and selecting ta’amu as a day 1 "plug in an play" player who allows them to immediately replace hampton.

called the pick historically staying true to their boards as the BPA.

19ward86
03-09-2012, 11:09 PM
Best Player Available is key. If we reach. Typically we will lose.

El-Gonzo Jackson
03-09-2012, 11:36 PM
on their weekly radio mock tim ryan and pat kirwan had the steelers passing on both hightower and barron and selecting ta’amu as a day 1 "plug in an play" player who allows them to immediately replace hampton.

called the pick historically staying true to their boards as the BPA.

Good to hear. I thought Ta'amu did fine at the combine, but he was one of the slowest DT's, so didnt know if he was rising or sliding on draft boards.

I thought he has a 2nd round grade, but dont see him getting past the Colts in the 2nd who will need a NT. Still, the Broncos right after us might want a NT too. Ta'amu, Osemele, James Michael Johnson, Brandon Brooks as the first 4 picks would be fine.

PhantomJB93
03-10-2012, 01:17 AM
Ta'amu would be a horrible reach at 24. That would be a "OMG we need a NT" panic move at this point. He'll hardly be the BPA and his stock has been on a steady decline since the closing weeks of last season. He really shouldn't even be an option when we pick.

In the event Poe, Glenn, AND Hightower are all gone, I'd like to think we'd go with Barron; and if he were gone we'd probably go best Olineman left (Osemele?). But I really can't picture a scenario where so many prospects on our board are gone that we'd go Ta'amu.

ricardisimo
03-10-2012, 02:42 AM
Seriously... absolutely everyone the Steelers might want to target has "shot up the boards" and some other team will be drafting them? We've gone from no one drafting guards in the first round to now having to settle for Osemele? Doesn't that have to mean that someone who was previously out of our reach will be dropping to us? I mean, how can the math only work against us? It doesn't work that way, folks.

Dalarin
03-10-2012, 03:49 AM
Am I the only one not sold on Hightower? He's good but I see him as a mid 2nd round pick. I believe very strongly that he was a product of the system player and needs to work on mechanics way too much to.be a first round player.

pete74
03-10-2012, 04:28 AM
i said last week i thought we might grab Ta'amu in the 1st since Poe will likely be gone in the top 10. i wouldnt call it a stretch at all if we chose him. i know everyone wants certain players but we are all wrong alot more then the steelers.
i remember a few years ago everyone was here saying we had to pick CB Kyle Wilson in the 1st round. if we passed on him it would be a huge mistake. well we did pass and thank god we did. then more recently people were saying we had to pick CB Brandon Harris in the 1st if he dropped to us. well we passed on him as well and he dropped to the 2nd round and dosnt look like he will ever crack the starting lineup.
my point is that most of us belive these mock drafts we read online. since most have Ta'amu going in the 2nd we belive if we grabbed him in the 1st it would be a reach but the Steelers dont miss in the 1st round so whoever they grab i will support and be happy to have on the team.

El-Gonzo Jackson
03-10-2012, 09:28 AM
Am I the only one not sold on Hightower? He's good but I see him as a mid 2nd round pick. I believe very strongly that he was a product of the system player and needs to work on mechanics way too much to.be a first round player.

ILB class is not as deep as in years past. Its why Hightower could go higher, but some have him graded as a top of the 2nd round pick. IMO he he is a faster version of Brandon Spikes with pass rush ability, so bottom of 1st to top of 2nd is reasonable.

i said last week i thought we might grab Ta'amu in the 1st since Poe will likely be gone in the top 10. i wouldnt call it a stretch at all if we chose him. i know everyone wants certain players but we are all wrong alot more then the steelers.


1 year ago, many would have had Ta'amu as a top 20 pick. Now some are saying he had a down year in production and is suddenly a reach. If youwatched him Senior Bowl Week and in the Senior Bowl game, you will see he is worth #24.

Ta'amu might be ready to play this season, Dontari Poe might not be ready for a couple years. I think one is a better player than the other, while the other is a better workout warrior than the other.

kan_t
03-10-2012, 09:51 AM
ILB class is not as deep as in years past. Its why Hightower could go higher, but some have him graded as a top of the 2nd round pick. IMO he he is a faster version of Brandon Spikes with pass rush ability, so bottom of 1st to top of 2nd is reasonable.



1 year ago, many would have had Ta'amu as a top 20 pick. Now some are saying he had a down year in production and is suddenly a reach. If youwatched him Senior Bowl Week and in the Senior Bowl game, you will see he is worth #24.

Ta'amu might be ready to play this season, Dontari Poe might not be ready for a couple years. I think one is a better player than the other, while the other is a better workout warrior than the other.
I'm happy if the Steelers can take Hightower and I wouldn't mind if they pick Ta'amu. But I want them to trade down if they do target Ta'amu as their first pick.

El-Gonzo Jackson
03-10-2012, 10:19 AM
I'm happy if the Steelers can take Hightower and I wouldn't mind if they pick Ta'amu. But I want them to trade down if they do target Ta'amu as their first pick.

But........the Broncos pick right after us and who is their NT in the 3-4 you might ask?? Nobody right now, as Broderick Bunkley is a free agent.

Steelers trade down from #24 and the Broncos select ....Almeda Ta'amu. The Colts also need a NT and could take one with pick #33.

Its why I have no problem with Ta'amu because he will be in demand from the Chiefs, Broncos, Colts, Steelers and I think he is a legit 2-gap defender.

BKAnthem
03-10-2012, 04:11 PM
Colbert already went crazy and drafted a Bunch of LB's...... time for the OL to get some Help

El-Gonzo Jackson
03-10-2012, 05:54 PM
Colbert already went crazy and drafted a Bunch of LB's...... time for the OL to get some Help

Like who?? Mike Humpal 6th round in 2008, Stevenston Sylvester 5th round in 2010?? Yeah, Colbert has been drafting a TON of ILB's. :rofl:

MasterOfPuppets
03-10-2012, 06:21 PM
Colbert already went crazy and drafted a Bunch of LB's...... time for the OL to get some Help
the steelers haven't used a top 3 pick on an ILBer since kendrell in 2001 ...other notable ILBers that wer drafted early were chad brown 2nd , levon kirkland 2nd, and farrior 1st (jets) ... they were all worth the pick

pete74
03-10-2012, 06:42 PM
Timmons-1st round

El-Gonzo Jackson
03-10-2012, 06:50 PM
the steelers haven't used a top 3 pick on an ILBer since kendrell in 2001 ...other notable ILBers that wer drafted early were chad brown 2nd , levon kirkland 2nd, and farrior 1st (jets) ... they were all worth the pick

Exactly!! Got Timmons in the draft and nobody worthy of playing next to him has been drafted since. At worst I am hoping for Johnson, Franklin or Kendricks in the 3rd round latest.

That is, unless we can find a starter in Free Agency.

kan_t
03-11-2012, 01:08 AM
But........the Broncos pick right after us and who is their NT in the 3-4 you might ask?? Nobody right now, as Broderick Bunkley is a free agent.

Steelers trade down from #24 and the Broncos select ....Almeda Ta'amu. The Colts also need a NT and could take one with pick #33.

Its why I have no problem with Ta'amu because he will be in demand from the Chiefs, Broncos, Colts, Steelers and I think he is a legit 2-gap defender.
You're right that Broncos do need a DT. I see lots of mock drafts predict Still to them. So it's very likely that they pick Ta'amu if they like him enough. But in this case I may rather stick it to Hightower. I think picking Ta'amu at #24 is a bit of overdraft.

Kingmagyar
03-11-2012, 11:52 AM
The big trouble with this year's draft is as Charlie Casserly put it, there is only like 22 guys with first round grades. Thereby putting the Steelers in a precarious position of having to reach for someone. Any guy projected early 2nd would be ok by me because we would have no shot at them later, but what I'm hoping is for someone to fall through the cracks like Luke Kuechly or Cordy Glenn. Glenn and Hightower are at least ranked first round talent.

ShutDown24
03-11-2012, 12:34 PM
Hightower is a lot more versatile than people realize. I think he'd be an awesome fit for the Steelers.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DONT’A HIGHTOWER IS THE PERFECT STEELER

Posted by Tyler Dunn, March 10th 2012, 9:32 am EST

6’2, 265lb.

Those numbers are impressive for an athletic linebacker coming out of college.

But they aren’t the only impressive traits Dont’a Hightower possesses.

Hightower attended national championship winning Alabama University, where he was schooled in many defensive schemes and positions by Head Coach Nick Saban.

Playing mostly inside linebacker, Hightower was signal caller for the Crimson Tide defense. A defense which was responsible for some of the most memorable performances in college football this past season; culminating in the BCS national title game where the Tide shut out Les Miles’ Louisiana State.

The junior has also effectively performed at outside linebacker and defensive end.

Enter Dick LeBeau and the Steelers.

Read more...

http://pittsburghfootballreport.com/2012/03/10/donta-hightower-is-the-perfect-steeler-30-2/

El-Gonzo Jackson
03-11-2012, 04:28 PM
I can see Hightower being a liability in coverage on 3rd downs. There are some draft pundits that have him as a 2nd round talent, so I would not be surprised if he was there at 24 or later. The question might come down to Hightower or Ta'amu at #24.

pete74
03-11-2012, 06:48 PM
i would like to know if more teams are looking at Hightower as a ILB or a OLB. He can play both

El-Gonzo Jackson
03-11-2012, 08:51 PM
i would like to know if more teams are looking at Hightower as a ILB or a OLB. He can play both

I dont think he has the quickness that his teammate Courtney Upshaw has as a pass rusher. Probably better at ILB.

Think of a big guy like Brandon Spikes, but Hightower ran a 4.68 and Spikes a 5.06 in the 40. Not blazing speed, but not as slow as Spikes and almost the exact speed as Dan Connor.

MasterOfPuppets
03-11-2012, 09:36 PM
Timmons-1st round
i didn't add timmons because he was drafted as on outside lber.


TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- You’ll have to excuse Dont’a Hightower if he doesn’t revel too much in his success at Alabama’s pro day on Wednesday. For the projected first-round selection, there’s still one more workout to go.

Hightower will participate in another pro day with teammates Trent Richardson (http://espn.go.com/college-football/player/_/id/480206/trent-richardson), Mark Barron (http://espn.go.com/college-football/player/_/id/382590/mark-barron) and Courtney Upshaw (http://espn.go.com/college-football/player/_/id/382614/courtney-upshaw) on March 29, tentatively scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. CT. He went through only a few of the drills on Wednesday, focusing on position workouts in front of the assembled crowd of NFL personnel. He turned in a 33-inch vertical jump and 9-foot, 9-inch broad jump.

Hightower said he has lost 10 pounds in an effort to trim down to the prototypical linebacker size. In Tuscaloosa, he said he wanted to show he could do more than put his hand on the ground and rush the quarterback.

“I feel like I showed everybody I had good hips,” Hightower said. “I’m able to come out of my breaks pretty well. I feel like I did really well as far as the position goes.

“I’m not really a drill guy. Once you get me in the pads and on the field, I feel like I did a really good job.”

UA coach Nick Saban said Hightower will fit in well with any NFL defense. In hybrid schemes, he’s especially well suited.

“I think he’s really done it all here,” Saban said. “He’s got a lot of diversity having played a lot of different positions. He’s going to offer the same thing at the next level: inside backer, nickel-backer, defensive end, odd rusher. There’s not very many other things you can do.”

Steelers GM Attends Alabama Pro Day; Could Pittsburgh Draft Dont'a Hightower?

Mar 07 6:50p by Alfie Crow


The Pittsburgh Steelers will be looking for linebacker help in the 2012 NFL Draft and one of the players that has been linked to the Steelers is Alabama linebacker Don'ta Hightower. Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was in attendance on Wednesday during Alabama's Pro Day.

Dale Lolley @dlolleyor

Steelers gm Kevin Colbert among those on hand today at Alabama pro day. Second Tide workout will be March 29


Colbert was likely in attendance to watch Hightower and some of his teammates in linebacker/defensive end Courtney Upshaw and nose tackle Josh Chapman. As mentioned, Hightower has been linked to the Steelers in plenty of mock drafts, but Chapman could also be of big interest for the Steelers. Chapman was the nose tackle in Alabama's defense, but played most of the season on a torn ACL. Chapman had surgery to repair his ACL in January and will likely miss much of the 2012 NFL season, if not all of it, but he was a dominating nose in the Alabama 3-4, which is another position at which the Steelers will be looking to get younger come April.

Steelers5895
04-03-2012, 06:19 PM
The steelers need to draft an ILB. Losing Farrior and Timmons closing in on being a first round bust, we could be in for a rough year with Timmons and Foote as our starters. I like Hightower.

Sixburgher
04-03-2012, 06:22 PM
The steelers need to draft an ILB. Losing Farrior and Timmons closing in on being a first round bust, we could be in for a rough year with Timmons and Foote as our starters. I like Hightower.

It would help if Timmons didn't have to play a different position every week due to someone being injured. He gets a mulligan for last season as far as I'm concerned.