Hightower prefers inside linebacker

May, 1, 2012
5/01/12
9:38
PM ET
New Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower joined Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio for a segment on Tuesday’s edition of PFT Live, during which he touched on both his experience of playing for Nick Saban at Alabama and his future in New England.

Here are a couple of the highlights from the clip, which can be found here:

-Hightower didn’t know that the Patriots were targeting him in the first round of the draft, which could be due in part to the contact he had with the team during the pre-draft process, which he described as minimal. It’s also possible that given the presence of both Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes on the roster, Hightower didn’t anticipate the team adding another player who has extensive experience as an inside linebacker.

-Although he’s been a Patriot for less than a week, Hightower has already heard from multiple new teammates, including defensive lineman Brandon Deadrick (a former Alabama teammate, and one of the first to call him after being drafted), and safety Patrick Chung.

-Versatility appears to be one of the reasons the Patriots coveted Hightower, as he was used in a number of ways under Nick Saban at Alabama. If he had his way, Hightower said that he would prefer to play inside linebacker (as opposed to outside) as a pro, although he was quick to add that he will do whatever Bill Belichick wants him to do.

-Hightower lived through what was a devastating tornado just around the time of the 2011 NFL Draft. It had a dramatic effect throughout the state, and it’s clear that the natural disaster effected Hightower as well, “It definitely put my mind in a different perspective,” he said.

-With four players drafted in the first round this season, it’s easy to understand why Hightower believes Alabama is one of the best college football program in the country to prepare players for the NFL. He attributed some of that to Saban, who formerly served as Belichick’s defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns, and he seems to see his time at Alabama as a tool that will help ease the transition to the NFL.

-Finally, it seems Hightower kept up with the Patriots long before being drafted by the team, as he remarked that he thought New England had the talent to win the Super Bowl last season, but that it came up just “two or three plays” short.
    Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.

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