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.
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).
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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