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View Full Version : Donta Hightower, ILB, Alabama


JBCX
10-24-2011, 07:38 PM
Every time I watch Alabama on defense, I come away more impressed with their ILB Donta Hightower than with OLB Courtney Upshaw. Is this the best linebacker on the 'Bama defense?

Similarly, how does he rank among the ILB/MLB prospects in the entire nation? I think he might be a better prospect than Manti Teo or Vontaze Burfict. He seems to play more disciplined than Burfict, and seems to be a better athlete than Teo.

descendency
10-24-2011, 07:47 PM
Hightower always comes off slow and late to the ball to me.

KaneMarko
01-11-2012, 09:30 AM
IDK if he's declared yet. I've been a fan of Hightower through out his career. But even as a fan of his I kinda feel like most of the time he's not going all out. Every now and then he makes a big play. But a lot of the times when I see him I feel he's doing a little more than jogging and not going 110% to make the tackle/play unless it's a blitz or he's lined up on the line. I've watched a lot of him during his time in Tuscaloosa. Hard to find more impressive looking LBs from a pure physicality standpoint. But I just feel he's capable of more and doesn't really play all the way up to his ability. Am I missing something?

If he does come out, based on his body of work and not just his measurables, is he a true 1st rounder? I'm on the fence about him being a 1st rounder if he does come out. I'm sure he could be because his measureables are outstanding and there are GMs out there that may look at his body, strength, speed, athleticism and figure they can coach up whatever he's missing on film. But when I watched him on TV, I see a kid with high 1st round measurables but maybe 2nd round game/effort. Am I missing something?

CDCB14
01-11-2012, 09:40 AM
He's probably best as being the 3rd man in a rotational role with the 2 other starting ILB's in a 3-4 scheme. That's why I'd love him on the Cowboys because we already have Sean Lee and Bruce Carter.

Hightower isn't the fasted guy in the world, but he brings a lot to the table. His size is incredible, he has great pass rushing ability for an inside linebacker, and he comes from a winning program that had a great defense. Intangibles like that go unnoticed. He obviously knows what it takes.

I doubt he'll be a perennial all-pro, but in the 2nd round he will be a hell of a pick. He would be a great Robin to someone else's Batman in a 3-4. He'd thrive in a situation like NaVarro Bowman is next to Patrick Willis. He'd also work perfectly in a 3 man rotation at ILB in a 3-4 scheme. I don't know how high you can spend a pick on that though, but I'd love for the Cowboys to take him.

bigbluedefense
01-11-2012, 01:53 PM
He's probably best as being the 3rd man in a rotational role with the 2 other starting ILB's in a 3-4 scheme. That's why I'd love him on the Cowboys because we already have Sean Lee and Bruce Carter.

Hightower isn't the fasted guy in the world, but he brings a lot to the table. His size is incredible, he has great pass rushing ability for an inside linebacker, and he comes from a winning program that had a great defense. Intangibles like that go unnoticed. He obviously knows what it takes.

I doubt he'll be a perennial all-pro, but in the 2nd round he will be a hell of a pick. He would be a great Robin to someone else's Batman in a 3-4. He'd thrive in a situation like NaVarro Bowman is next to Patrick Willis. He'd also work perfectly in a 3 man rotation at ILB in a 3-4 scheme. I don't know how high you can spend a pick on that though, but I'd love for the Cowboys to take him.

Poor man's Lawrence Timmons? A pass rushing/run stuffing ILB/OLB tweener in a 34?

shylo3716
01-11-2012, 02:12 PM
Hightower always comes off slow and late to the ball to me.

I very much so agree

DeathbyStat
01-11-2012, 02:36 PM
Poor man's Lawrence Timmons? A pass rushing/run stuffing ILB/OLB tweener in a 34?

Well if thats the case, im fine with the steelers drafting him and putting him next to Timmons

phlysac
01-11-2012, 02:52 PM
I'd actually switch Hightower to 3-4 OLB like the 49ers did with Ahmad Brooks.

MichaelJordanEberle (sabf)
01-11-2012, 02:54 PM
Where do you guys see him in a 4-3, if at all? I haven't gotten to see a lot of him, but conceptually, a solid MLB who can rush the passer on 3rd down(even though with Von and Doom that's not really a need, no such thing as too many pass rushers) sounds pretty good to me if there's no one better available at that spot.

bigbluedefense
01-11-2012, 02:55 PM
Where do you guys see him in a 4-3, if at all? I haven't gotten to see a lot of him, but conceptually, a solid MLB who can rush the passer on 3rd down(even though with Von and Doom that's not really a need, no such thing as too many pass rushers) sounds pretty good to me if there's no one better available at that spot.

Not a Nate Irving fan? I loved Nate last year.

K Train
01-11-2012, 02:58 PM
i love him as a guy to play next to timmons. he has the size to take on guards that timmons didnt have coming into the league but he could also kick outside and even play DE on 3rd down...i think he could be great on the steelers

Matthew Jones
01-11-2012, 03:05 PM
I very much so agree

Count me in on this as well; Hightower is slow off the snap and mails it in a little bit too often.

ElectricEye
01-11-2012, 03:24 PM
I'm just always leery of guys like this. Not a bad player by any means, but his lack of speed could be really exposed in the NFL. Especially if there's effort concerns as some have mentioned.

Babylon
01-11-2012, 03:55 PM
I'm just always leery of guys like this. Not a bad player by any means, but his lack of speed could be really exposed in the NFL. Especially if there's effort concerns as some have mentioned.

I think there is a risk of overevaluating guys off great college teams. Brandon Spikes comes to mind. He was great in college but looks too slow to be effective.

WorldBFree
01-11-2012, 09:24 PM
I am a steeler fan and I don't want him. I don't think he can play on passing downs. I don't think you can afford to draft two down ILB in round one anymore.

A Perfect Score
01-11-2012, 09:36 PM
Dude is going to get TORCHED in the NFL in coverage. Try imagining Hightower covering a Dustin Keller or Jimmy Graham down the seam. It's not a pretty visual.

Sportycliche
01-11-2012, 10:03 PM
Before the knee injury, Hightower had great speed for his size. Anything from his 2010 season I wouldn't take as his full "talent".

descendency
01-11-2012, 10:10 PM
I think there is a risk of overevaluating guys off great college teams. Brandon Spikes comes to mind. He was great in college but looks too slow to be effective.

He's a really good 2 down LB. He could be a "secret weapon" for the Patriots against the Broncos. He's a great blitzer and tackler. He may be built for stopping Tebow and the option. He saw it for years at Florida.

The only problem is that you have to put Dane Fletcher in on the other downs. If Spikes could play OLB, he'd be exactly what NE needs.

SenorGato
01-11-2012, 11:58 PM
I like him better than Upshaw, but I'm a liiiiittle leery of both. Upshaw should be a 4-3 DE and Hightower...well I can really like Hightower as a 3-4 LB, especially if his workout numbers are strong.

CDCB14
01-12-2012, 12:09 AM
Dude is going to get TORCHED in the NFL in coverage. Try imagining Hightower covering a Dustin Keller or Jimmy Graham down the seam. It's not a pretty visual.

Dude, what ILB in the world could cover them with the rules in today's NFL? None. Asking Hightower or any ILB to cover them is just idiotic by a defensive coach. With the increased athleticism of guys like that and the rules that favor the offense, obviously Hightower or any ILB would get embarrassed by them.

Hightower isn't going to be Ray Lewis in his prime, but he will be a productive NFL player who you can rely on to make the tackle.

K Train
01-12-2012, 08:36 AM
Dude is going to get TORCHED in the NFL in coverage. Try imagining Hightower covering a Dustin Keller or Jimmy Graham down the seam. It's not a pretty visual.

thats why we have timmons and why i think he compliments him. Hes a good instinct player, and im not sure he has brandon spikes bad speed even if he does time on the slow side

Iamcanadian
01-12-2012, 08:45 PM
Upshaw is definitely the better pass rusher and solid against the run, making him a first rounder. How high, that will be decided at the combine.
Hightower is a solid 2nd rounder, who I see playing on the inside at ILB or MLB.

descendency
01-12-2012, 08:56 PM
I think a lot of you are underestimating how much his stock could die at the Combine when he runs 4.9 or so.

Brandon Spikes ran a near 5.0 and proceeded to go to NE at the end of the second round.

A Perfect Score
01-12-2012, 09:13 PM
Dude, what ILB in the world could cover them with the rules in today's NFL? None. Asking Hightower or any ILB to cover them is just idiotic by a defensive coach. With the increased athleticism of guys like that and the rules that favor the offense, obviously Hightower or any ILB would get embarrassed by them.

Hightower isn't going to be Ray Lewis in his prime, but he will be a productive NFL player who you can rely on to make the tackle.

There are a plurality of NFL linebackers who can line up and cover the athletic TEs which dominate the NFL. Hell, there are several linebackers in this draft ahead of Hightower capable of doing just that. Fact is, the kid just doesn't have the overall athleticism to excel in coverage in the NFL.

K Train
01-13-2012, 08:49 AM
I think a lot of you are underestimating how much his stock could die at the Combine when he runs 4.9 or so.

Brandon Spikes ran a near 5.0 and proceeded to go to NE at the end of the second round.

brandon spikes was also rumored to be a 5th round guy considering he ran an ali highsmith-like poor time and he was still a second round pick.

hightower is a great inside blitzer and can rush the passer....something that wasnt really spikes strong suit

Abaddon
01-13-2012, 10:03 AM
He's probably best as being the 3rd man in a rotational role with the 2 other starting ILB's in a 3-4 scheme. That's why I'd love him on the Cowboys because we already have Sean Lee and Bruce Carter.

Hightower isn't the fasted guy in the world, but he brings a lot to the table. His size is incredible, he has great pass rushing ability for an inside linebacker, and he comes from a winning program that had a great defense. Intangibles like that go unnoticed. He obviously knows what it takes.

I doubt he'll be a perennial all-pro, but in the 2nd round he will be a hell of a pick. He would be a great Robin to someone else's Batman in a 3-4. He'd thrive in a situation like NaVarro Bowman is next to Patrick Willis. He'd also work perfectly in a 3 man rotation at ILB in a 3-4 scheme. I don't know how high you can spend a pick on that though, but I'd love for the Cowboys to take him.

Backup ILB in Rd2? Oookay....

descendency
01-16-2012, 05:16 AM
I am a steeler fan and I don't want him. I don't think he can play on passing downs. I don't think you can afford to draft two down ILB in round one anymore.

He'd be moved to DE/OLB on passing downs as a rush specialist.

Part of me likes him, but there are plenty of plays that he isn't giving 100%. He clearly has his stretches in the game where he can play with the best of them. I think he'll go in round 1, but i'd rather have him late in round 2 like Brandon Spikes. (the stats he puts up seem more like a product of him always being around the ball and not actually making plays)

brandon spikes was also rumored to be a 5th round guy considering he ran an ali highsmith-like poor time and he was still a second round pick.

Before the combine, the vast majority of people had McClain as the #1 LB, but some had Spikes above McClain. After the combine, his stock fell quite a bit but I don't ever remember it being "5th round" bad.

TheFinisher
01-16-2012, 09:32 PM
I think he's gonna be a stud. Yes he's somewhat limited in what you can ask of him in coverage, but as a zone defender who can read what's in front of him I think he's more than serviceable. He's got a great feel for underneath routes and is a much better athlete in space than being credited for. As far as the run game, he's a monster. When he comes downhill you know **** is about to get blown up. He's so powerful and understands how to use his hands, he'll have no problem stacking and shedding at the next level. I was also very impressed when he had to work laterally on outside runs, his closing speed is rare for someone that size.

Then when you consider he was the leader of that Bama defense, who's displayed throughout his career the knack for making the big play.

Big time player, I actually like him more than I did Rolando McClain.

Flaming Mo
01-17-2012, 08:04 AM
I think most questions rised regarding Hightower because he gained a lot of weight after his knee injury. He has only slowly gotten into better shape and while he looked fine this year, you always wondered about him being a bit heavy.

I think a lot depends for him how he looks at the Combine and in what shape he shows up. Instincts, strength and intagibles are top notch.

KaneMarko
01-17-2012, 09:24 AM
For whatever reason, when I watched Hightower, images of Kendrell Bell came to mind. In that Bell was a incredibly powerful LB that just seemed to not go 100% all the time. Especially after the Chiefs gave him a big contract.

I like Dont'a when he does go 100% because he's hell on wheels. But, IMO, too many times he just doesn't seem all the way into it.

K Train
01-17-2012, 09:30 AM
He'd be moved to DE/OLB on passing downs as a rush specialist.

Part of me likes him, but there are plenty of plays that he isn't giving 100%. He clearly has his stretches in the game where he can play with the best of them. I think he'll go in round 1, but i'd rather have him late in round 2 like Brandon Spikes. (the stats he puts up seem more like a product of him always being around the ball and not actually making plays)



Before the combine, the vast majority of people had McClain as the #1 LB, but some had Spikes above McClain. After the combine, his stock fell quite a bit but I don't ever remember it being "5th round" bad.

http://draftcountdown.com/forum/showthread.php?t=40331&highlight=brandon+spikes

pretty mixed reviews actually. i still liked him in the 2nd to the steelers

bucfan12
01-17-2012, 09:44 AM
He's a 3-4 ILB. He'll be a good one, but I can't see him lasting in the 4-3. He's a 2 down thumper.

scottyboy
01-17-2012, 09:51 AM
i could still see the giants taking him at the bottom of the first as a thumper. Boley is our main cover LB and I think Hightower could be a pretty good 2 down MLB