The SB Nation two-round NFL mock draft continues along with each lead NFL team blogger making the pick for their team. Up now is the Pittsburgh Steelers with the No. 24 overall pick.
With the 24th pick in the 2012 SB Nation NFL Writers Mock Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select Alabama middle linebacker Dont'a Hightower.
Michael Bean from Behind the Steel Curtain checks in to explain the pick and I respond after the jump. For the latest on the Steelers, follow along at BehindTheSteelCurtain.com. Mr. Bean is also heading up the rapidly growing video wing of SB Nation. Check out these draft profiles they're putting out.
Michael Bean explains: James Farrior is old. Real old. It’s a wonder the 36-year old quarterback of Dick LeBeau’s defense has been able to play at as high a level as he has in recent years, but it’s about time to pass the torch. Lawrence Timmons is quite the talent and still has room for considerable improvement, but I don’t think too many fans are confident that he’s best suited to be the play caller and extension of LeBeau that is expected of the position. Hightower, however, would be a great fit. He called the plays for Nick Saban’s defense last season at Alabama. Though he may be somewhat inexperienced defending the pass in zone schemes, he takes fantastic angles to the ball, so I assume he’ll be a quick learn and be ready to take over the reigns as a starter as early as the second part of the 2012 season.
Dan Kadar responds: This is one of those picks that just makes sense. Between the two, Farrior is more of the power linebacker than Timmons. That's what Hightower has been for Alabama. The Steelers could also use Hightower to rush the passer, which he did fairly well for a middle linebacker in college. The only concern is his pass coverage. Alabama brought its safeties up to cover more, which allowed Hightower to play near the line of scrimmage. But with Farrior still in the mix, Hightower could learn coverage principles for a season.
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