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Old 03-09-2012, 06:31 AM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default Kiper has Steelers picking ‘Bama LB

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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
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:17 AM   #2
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Default Re: Kiper has Steelers picking ‘Bama LB

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.
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Old 03-09-2012, 11:32 AM   #3
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Default Re: Kiper has Steelers picking ‘Bama LB

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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.
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Old 03-09-2012, 12:05 PM   #4
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Default Re: Kiper has Steelers picking ‘Bama LB

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.
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Old 03-09-2012, 12:28 PM   #5
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Default Re: Kiper has Steelers picking ‘Bama LB

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.
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Old 03-09-2012, 01:57 PM   #6
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Default Re: Kiper has Steelers picking ‘Bama LB

I'd love to have him on the team.
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Old 03-09-2012, 04:57 PM   #7
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Default Re: Kiper has Steelers picking ‘Bama LB

whens the last time the steelers picked an inside linebacker in the 1st ??? (timmons doesn't count)
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Old 03-09-2012, 05:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: Kiper has Steelers picking ‘Bama LB

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whens the last time the steelers picked an inside linebacker in the 1st ??? (timmons doesn't count)
So, you are saying they are due...
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Old 03-09-2012, 09:22 PM   #9
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Default Re: Kiper has Steelers picking ‘Bama LB

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.
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Old 03-09-2012, 11:09 PM   #10
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Default Re: Kiper has Steelers picking ‘Bama LB

Best Player Available is key. If we reach. Typically we will lose.
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