Is Pittsburgh Steelers second yr outdoors linebacker Alex Highsmith too underappreciated? Cynthia Frelund from NFL.com thinks so.
Frelund not too long ago launched her checklist of the NFL’s most underappreciated gamers within the NFL and Highsmith was included on it. Under is her reasoning for purring the steelers third spherical draft pick of Charlotte on her checklist.
In his rookie season, the third-rounder made a deal with on almost 10 % of his snaps (9.9 % deal with charge). This was the second-highest charge amongst edge defenders final season (min. 400 snaps). Whereas I don’t count on his charge to remain that prime — with the departure of Bud Dupree, he’ll play a better quantity of snaps and have a extra seen function that can command extra consideration — however I do count on massive issues to proceed. The 2 predominant causes for that: 1) When it comes to his velocity within the first 3 yards traveled, Highsmith ranked within the prime 10 % in 2020; and a pair of) his hips stayed dealing with the quarterback even after contact at a charge within the prime 15 % (this helps predict restoration and pursuit of stress).
Through the 2021 offseason, the Steelers misplaced beginning outdoors linebacker Bud Dupree in free company as he signed a profitable take care of the Tennessee Titans. That now signifies that Highsmith might be anticipated to take over Dupree’s beginning spot on the proper aspect in 2021 and similar to he did to shut out the 2020 season after Dupree suffered a season-ending knee damage.
Highsmith mentioned not too long ago it was superior to study from Dupree and T.J. Watt throughout his rookie season. Watt praised his younger teammate through the 2020 season for his progress.
“He at all times involves work able to develop and get higher,” mentioned fellow outdoors linebacker T.J. Watt through the season. “That’s the factor with him. He’s at all times asking the proper questions. I’m not in a position to see guys put together this yr as a result of we’re all socially distanced and watching movie from house. I do know he’s ready.”
Highsmith actually is aware of he has massive footwear to fill with Dupree now gone and he seems to be prepared for the problem. Highsmith admitted not too long ago that the discuss from most of the draft specialists for the reason that 2020 season ended motivated him to work extraordinarily onerous this offseason. A lot of these draft specialists believed the Steelers ought to take an edge rusher early on this yr’s draft.
Highsmith wants to essentially play nicely in 2021 to take a bit stress of Watt on the opposite aspect. He mentioned as a lot throughout a current put up OTA follow media session.
“I really feel like I’ve received to return in and earn the respect that he has”, Highsmith mentioned of Watt, “as a result of he’s one of the revered guys within the sport. He is among the finest at what he does, so I’ve received to return in and earn that respect as nicely to have the ability to even it out a bit bit”.