2012 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama

by Cory J. Bonini on February 21, 2012 @ 16:06:51 PDT


Alabama linebacker Dont'a Hightower declared for the 2012 NFL Draft as a junior and ranks among the best at inside 'backer. His best performance of the 2011 season was an 11-tackle, 1.5-sack, one pass-defensed performance against Mississippi State. 

Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
Better player than athlete


  • Great size (6-foot-4, 260 pounds)
  • Strong build, powerful tackler
  • Experienced as an edge rusher
  • Well-respected team leader
  • Plays with intensity and determination
  • Knows his assignments and sticks to them - heady, instinctual player
  • Hard worker in the weight and film rooms
  • Excellent zone awareness in pass defense
  • Ideal fit for inside linebacker in a 3-4 alignment


  • Lacks athleticism and speed - will struggle getting to the edge
  • Sometimes outright misses on a tackle attempt
  • Injury history - torn anterior cruciate ligament in 2009
  • Occasionally takes poor angles
  • Lacks flexibility and speed in pass defense
  • Diagnosis of plays can be a little slow

Expected draft placement

Hightower should be a late first- or early second-round pick in April. He could go to the likes of the San Diego Chargers (No. 18), Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 24) and Baltimore Ravens (No. 29).

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About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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