Dont\’a Hightower & Courtney Upshaw To Have Pre Draft Visit With Seelers Thursday

University of Alabama linebacker Dont\’a Hightower posted tonight via Twitter that he has landed in Pittsburgh. That likely means that he will have a pre draft visit with the Steelers on Thursday. Hightower measured in at the NFL combine at 6022 and weighed 265 pounds. He ran the 40 yard dash in an unofficial time of 4.65 seconds. At his pro day Hightower recorded a 9\’9″ broad jump to go along with a 33 inch vertical. He ran his 20 yard shuttle in 4.64 seconds.

Hightower played inside linebacker in the 3-4 defense while at Alabama so he knows the basics of the scheme. He is strong against the run and that includes taking on blockers at the point of attack. He is solid as disengaging and finding the ball carrier quickly. He is not known for his top end speed, but does have a quick first step. He is a brutal hitter inside and uses his strength to his advantage. In pass protection Hightower is not fluid in man coverage, but does show good awareness and ability to drop well into zone coverages.

Hightower was a two-time team captain at Alabama with high character and a respected leader.

ETA: Reports of Upshaw visiting Pittsburgh seem to have been false as Upshaw returned back to Birmingham from San Diego on Wednesday.

Alabama outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw is also reportedly in Pittsburgh as well making a pre draft visit. He measured in at the combine at 6015 and weighed 272 pounds. He put up 22 reps on the bench and ran 4.76 40 at his pro day to go along with a 9\’1″ broad jump and a 27 inch vertical jump. His short shuttle time was 4.60 seconds. Upshaw was effective at setting the edge outside in the 3-4 defense despite being somewhat short armed. He is a physical tackler who works better as a bull rusher instead of a speed rusher as he lacks elite agility and speed. He lacks good footwork, but always ends up around the ball. He is very athletic, but just not as agile as you would think. His lack of speed makes him a poor chase linebacker outside, but he excels crashing down inside.

Both Hightower and Upshaw are expected to be drafted somewhere in the first round.

Hat tip to @AyyyOhh on Twitter

  • Bleebo77

    After flirtations with a lot of other 1st round possibilities, I’ve come back around to Hightower as the Steelers best option (unless someone unexpected drops to 1.24… and not Poe).

    Hightower is the best value at the spot, and he fills a need. I think some of the concern about him as a liability in pass coverage has been a bit overblown. After all, the Steelers had the #1 defense last year with some combination of Farrior and Foote in this role, and they beat the TE-heavy Patriots. Hightower might not be a pure cover ILB, but he’s a dynamic run-stuffer who offers some scheme versatility with his ability to rush the passer. He can shed blocks and would be a great complement to Timmons.

    My only hesitation is that the Steelers MUST invest multiple picks in the offensive line, so it would be hard to pass on J. Martin or even M. Adams if they are on the board. Only the Steeler know if they like those guys enough to make them 1st round selections.


    I’m getting more comfortable with the thought of taking Hightower.

  • Mellymorales07

    That boy looks like a beast !! We need to pick him up !!

  • Derick

    doing their due diligence, the Steelers way.

  • Woodleykills56

    I would like the Hightower pick if he is the best player available at the time. But I would prefer to have a top notch OL if available.

  • TO

    HIghtower has very limited range. He is Farrior of last year but a bigger hitter. He will get torched by RBs and TEs. Might be a decent addition, but in no way worth a first round pick.

  • Bigdaddydre99

    I would be ecstatic for either of these two to be a Steeler. James Harrison will need a replacement soon. Not sold on Worilds

  • Jprankster2005

    Hope they don’t take Hightower in 1st……..

  • Jprankster2005

    I’d pass on both and take Fleener…….. Just to sure up the passing game for a few more years…… We need a ILB later in draft but we have young guys that can step in since they will have more time this yr. to workout with the team since the lockout didn’t help alot of them last yr…. I hope Worilds turns into a similar harrison and Sylvester can take over the reign at ILB… I don’t think this is a number 1 need……. If there going to draft by needs NT would be the best bet……. But I’d perfer Fleener……

  • Jprankster2005

    I don’t see them going OL because that’s the position with the most depth but they might u never know…….. We need to get OL and NT before Lb……

  • Jprankster2005

    Just saw the Pope contract was for 725,000.00 not a bad deal with only the 25,000 signing bonus……. So if he get’s cut only 25,000 dead money……. Nice pickup with all that in consideration…… And only counting around 575,000 to cap

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I have no problem with Hightower. I actually think he is the perfect fit for this team. His pass coverage is less of an issue than it used to be. If we pass, he will be a Raven. I still think he is the perfect fit.

    That being said, I want 3 OL and a NT taken in addition to him as well as a WR.

    Here is my thought.

    McNutt – trade a 5 and a 7 to move up to the 4th round for him.

  • Asmitty56

    That’s where Timmons comes in. Timmons had to bulk up to play buck, if they got Hightower he can go back to his natural position and weight and be that athletic freak we know he can be. Timmons could focus on pass coverage and making open field tackles. Odds are the Steelers won’t be able to replace Hampton with a NT that is as good or better, Hightower strengthens the middle of the D in terms of run defense and pass rushing. Also it helps that he is as good of a player above the neck as he is below.