The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports
Dont'a Hightower occassionally battled hamstring injuries through parts of his rookie season, an injury that often speaks to preparation and conditioning. If he can stay loose next year, I think he'll be the best part of a menacing Pats LB corps.
Hightower is a run-stuffing elephant of a linebacker who demonstrated pass-rushing ability out of the gate (four sacks in 2013, third on the team). He seemed to struggle in coverage at times following the hamstring issues, but he's fast enough (4.62 second 40 time) to excel in that area.
Hightower is a smart player, but, at times, he seemed to over-think in his rookie season, hesitating down the line and failing to explode into a gap to meet the RB.
In that sense, he's the anti-Brandon Spikes, and that's not entirely a bad thing, but Hightower will be a better player once his mind settles and his instincts kick in.
I expect big things from Hightower in 2013. He has the potential to be an elite linebacker in the NFL.