Patriot’s fans, including myself, were giddy when
the Patriots traded up to draft linebacker Dont’a Hightower with the
25th pick in the NFL draft. Hightower was considered one of the premier
linebackers and defensive players of his class. Hightower had a tremendous four year run under Nick Saban, a
Belichick disciple. Hightower was the centerpiece of the defense that
won two BCS Championships during his time there.
speed, strength, football IQ, and familiarity with the Alabama system
(many similarities to that of the Patriots) made him an exciting player
to Belichick and the organization, and ultimately it was decided he was
worth trading up to get. Pairing Hightower with Mayo and Spikes proved
to be a fearsome force for opponent’s running backs to deal with,
especially factoring in the dominant play of Vince Wilfork, and other
members of the Patriot’s D-Line.
ability to play at a high level in the NFL was immediately apparent to