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