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Dont'a Hightower may be the most underrated Alabama player heading into the NFL draft.
He was the true beast behind the nation's No. 1 ranked defense in most categories. He was the field general that succeeded Rolando McClain.
As a linebacker that can play in coverage, rush the passer, stuff the run and lead the defense; I'm boggled as to why he's not recognized more by draft pundits.
He led the team in tackles with 85 (well ahead of Mark Barron's 66) and was a load at the line of scrimmage.
He weighed in at 260 lbs. before the season started, but I'd wager he weighs more. He has a knack for carrying his weight well.
His slow start in 2010 is likely the reason for his stock's drop, but he will be a top-five linebacker.
Boston College's Luke Kuechly seems to be the best inside linebacker in the draft, but coaches must wonder how well his 237-lb. frame will match up in the NFL as opposed to the weak opposition he faced in the ACC.
Arizona State's Vontaze Burfict looks like the No. 2 inside linebacker in the draft, but his "over-enthusiastic" play and penchant for penalties may drop him lower. The NFL is cracking down on hard hits involving helmet-to-helmet contact.
Hightower will creep into the first round due to his solid play, lack of penalties and lack of dirty hits, as well as his ability to lead a defense effectively.
The Pittsburgh Steelers will take a long, hard look at Hightower. However, I fully expect the Baltimore Ravens to do whatever it takes to land Hightower to succeed rapidly aging Ray Lewis.
Lewis' veggie burgers and mean streak can only take him so far, and he'll be 37 this year.