2012 SB Nation NFL Mock Draft: Round 1, Pick 24

Mar 7, 2012; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Dont'a Hightower (30) during pro day at the indoor practice facility at the University of Alabama. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE

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.

Mocking the Draft's Top 5 Remaining Prospects

OVR Name Pos. College Report
12 Devon Still
DT Penn State
prospect notes
15 Michael Brockers
scouting report
18 Whitney Mercilus
DE Illinois
Coming soon!
19 Peter Konz
C Wisconsin scouting report
22 Zach Brown
OLB North Carolina
prospect notes

Pick Team Player Pos. School Story
1 Indianapolis Colts Andrew Luck QB Stanford Story
2 Washington Redskins Robert Griffin III QB Baylor Story
3 Minnesota Vikings Matt Kalil OT USC Story
4 Cleveland Browns Justin Blackmon WR Oklahoma State Story
5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Morris Claiborne CB LSU Story
6. St. Louis Rams Trent Richardson RB Alabama Story
7 Jacksonville Jaguars Quinton Coples DE North Carolina Story
8 Miami Dolphins Ryan Tannehill QB Texas A&M Story
9 Carolina Panthers Fletcher Cox DT Mississippi State Story
10 Buffalo Bills Mike Adams OT Ohio State Story
11 Kansas City Chiefs Riley Reiff OT Iowa Story
12 Seattle Seahawks Courtney Upshaw OLB Alabama Story
13 Arizona Cardinals Jonathan Martin OT Stanford Story
14 Dallas Cowboys David DeCastro G Stanford Story
15 Philadelphia Eagles Luke Kuechly LB Boston College Story
16 New York Jets Melvin Ingram DE South Carolina Story
17 Cincinnati Bengals Stephon Gilmore CB South Carolina Story
18 San Diego Chargers Mark Barron S Alabama Story
19 Chicago Bears Michael Floyd WR Notre Dame Story
20 Tennessee Titans Dre Kirkpatrick CB Alabama Story
21 Cincinnati Bengals Cordy Glenn OT Georgia Story
22 Cleveland Browns Kendall Wright WR Baylor Story
23 Detroit Lions
Janoris Jenkins CB North Alabama
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