Dont'a Hightower   LB/DE   Alabama

TALENT BOARD

 Round 1


STRENGTHS

Dont'a is a pass rushing machine.  He has excellent size, strength and speed and his explosion off the line of scrimmage is one of the best I have ever seen at any size.  Dont'a has very mature pass rushing skills and his power off the line combined with his explosive speed makes Dont'a one of the more unique pass rushers I have seen at the college level.  Dont'a has the potential to be as good as Derrick Thomas (former LB/DE Kansas City Chiefs).  He shows very good change of direction skills and can play multiple positions in just about any style defense you want to run.  He has those long arms and legs that the NFL scouts look for in a pass rusher and the explosiveness and speed to drop off the line and defend in zone coverage or man-to-man in passing situations.  When he puts his hand on the ground in a 4-3 front and rushes the passer, it is frightening for the opponent's QB.  He fights through double teams and gives excellent effort on every play.  I call him Dont'a (The Magnificent) Hightower. 

 

CONCERNS

Dont'a is playing middle linebacker for his college team, but that is not his impact position for the next level.  He has to think too much and right now, he doesn't show the instincts needed to play that position for the next level.  He hesitates and his athletic talent is covering up a lot of false steps and the fact that he is susceptible to play action.  He is young and does not show leadership skills; however, I suspect in time he will become one of the leaders of your team the more success he has at the next level. The biggest hole in his game is he doesn't like, or handle, cut blocks very well.  A good cut block will stop him right in his tracks.  He will have to learn to handle this type of block because at the next level cut blocks by fullbacks, H-backs and tailbacks will be this kid's Kryptonite.

 

BOTTOM LINE

Dont'a has the potential to be a big time star in the NFL for the team that drafts him.  His linebacker skills are lacking maturity because, he has changed positions just about every year he has played.  At this point his impact position is as a OLB/DE in a 3-4 defense, but he will also impact as a OLB in a 4-3 or DE in a 4-3.  Dont'a should impact right away as a pass rusher and if you keep his assignments simple for awhile, he should impact as an OLB also.  Don't get me wrong, Dont'a is smart enough but right now, he is thinking way too much, which is creating delays in his reactions.  Draft this kid and use him to attack the line of scrimmage and he has a chance to be defensive rookie of the year.  Make him your middle linebacker and you will have to wait a few years to feel the full force of his impact.  Either way, Dont'a is a top ten player in my book and any team in the top ten running a 3-4 defense that needs a pass rush presence would be very foolish to pass on this kid because he will be Magnificent and the type of player coaches can make a career from.

 

 The BS Detector 

 Drew Boylhart   DEC /11