Patriots sign LB Hightower

Updated: July 19, 2012, 12:44 PM ET
By Adam Schefter | ESPN

The New England Patriots announced the signing of first-round draft pick linebacker Dont'a Hightower on Thursday. The team did not disclose terms of the deal, but a league source said Wednesday that it was a four-year pact.

Hightower, 22, a linebacker out of Alabama, was the 25th overall pick in April's draft. The Pats traded up to get him, sending a first-round pick (31st overall) and a fourth-round pick (126th overall) to the Denver Broncos for No. 25.

The Patriots used their other first-round pick on Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones, who went 21st overall.

"Guess the cats out of the bag lol *#PatriotsNation, wants to think everyone who has helped me reach my dream *#hightowerclan," Hightower tweeted Wednesday.

Hightower is the last of the Pats' seven 2012 draft picks to agree to terms on a deal. Rookies are due to report to camp on Thursday.

A native of Lewisburg, Tenn., Hightower last year was a first-team All-America selection by the Associated Press and a second-team All-SEC selection. He started 12 games for the Crimson Tide, leading them with 85 tackles (11 for a loss), four sacks, eight quarterback hits, one interception and one forced fumble.

Information from ESPNBoston's Mike Reiss was used in this report.

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