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Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Patriots get LB Dont'a Hightower signed

By James Walker

The New England Patriots have their final 2012 draft pick signed, sealed and delivered. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports New England signed first-round pick, linebacker Dont'a Hightower, to a four-year contract on Wednesday.

Earlier, we highlighted Hightower and quarterback Ryan Tannehill of the Miami Dolphins as the final first-round picks in the AFC East yet to sign. Hightower will report Thursday on time when rookies are due. Tannehill has until next week on July 26.

Hightower has a chance to carve out a big role with the Patriots. New England’s defense was ranked 31st in the NFL and is willing to make changes. Hightower was part of a physically-dominating Alabama group last year in the SEC.

The Patriots hope Hightower and fellow first-round pick Chandler Jones can come in and be immediate contributors.