The aftermath of the Steelers 2020 NFL Draft has brought excitement about the future of this team. The Steeler’s selections bolstered their depth at numerous positions, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
However, I was excited with their third-round selection, Alex Highsmith, equally as much as their second-round pick Chase Claypool.
I believe Alex Highsmith is lighting in a bottle, and he may strike when you do not expect it. I know this because I have seen it with my own eyes.
The Steelers have a tradition of drafting linebackers early in the draft. They continued that tradition with taking Highsmith at pick 102. I was extremely excited for numerous reasons.
First, he fills a major need on this defense, depth, and versatility. With Highsmith being a hybrid LB/DE, he can move around the front and be used in multiple ways to rush the QB. Coming in at 6-4, 242Ib, his measurables fit in with the type of edge rusher for this defense.
His 2019 campaign gave us a taste of his potential at the next level. Highsmith acquired 75 total tackles, with 21.5 being tackles-for-loss. He also became a menace to opposing quarterbacks, racking up 15 sacks in 2019.
My second reason is that I believe he has the capability to become a quality edge rusher in this defense for many years to come.
With T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree starting, Highsmith will be learning from arguably the best pass-rushing duo in the NFL. He can quickly become a rotational edge rusher with this defense and hold his own. I think if he can take advantage of learning from Keith Butler alongside his fellow teammates, Pittsburgh will be breeding another monster for this scary defense that led the league in sacks.
His play-style reminds me of a mix of Watt’s finesse with the brute strength similar to a Lawrence Timmons or even some flashes, James Harrison. I think that Steeler Nation will love his hard-hitting ways on the field.
My third reason is I have seen him in action, and I believe that Steelers Nation is in for a treat. I attended UNC Charlotte from 2017 to 2019. I watched one Charlotte 49ers game in-person: a hard-fought game against Old Dominion in 2018.
Many times, I saw #5 getting consistent pressure and pushing the pocket. I loved his speed off the edge and how he uses his size to his advantage.
The second time I watched him was against UMass this past season at home. His big hit in the 2nd quarter showed me that he is not afraid to lay the boom.
If you haven’t guessed, I am really excited to see Highsmith in a Steelers uniform. I think that he is the perfect fit for this organization. With everything from his size, strength, and playstyle, he will become an impact player in the next few years for this already elite defensive unit.
If teams already had issues defending Watt and Dupree in 2019, what will happen if they add Highsmith as a third?
It will be very interesting to see how he will contribute to this defense in 2020.