With the 24th pick of the 2012 NFL draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama
The Steelers once again led the league in total and scoring defense in 2011, and the key to their annual success is the play of their linebackers in Dick LeBeau's 3-4 scheme. LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison bring the pressure from the outside, and inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons is developing into a Pro Bowler. However, their weak link was fellow inside 'backer James Farrior, who was released at the ripe old age of 37 after having lost a step or two.
That one hole in the defense is perfectly filled by Hightower. A beast at 6'2", 265 pounds, he is the type of ferocious playmaker that can thrive in the Steelers' scheme and become a starter from Day One. His tremendous leadership skills--he was a two-time team captain at Alabama--will also help fill the void left by Farrior.
Consideration also will be given to addressing the offensive line, but with Adams and Glenn already taken, the black and gold can not pass up on Hightower.
The Denver Broncos are now on the clock. Cody Ulm will be making their selection.
1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
2. Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, OT, USC
4. Cleveland Browns: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
6. St. Louis Rams: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
8. Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
9. Carolina Panthers: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
10. Buffalo Bills: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
11. Kansas City Chiefs: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi
12. Seattle Seahawks: Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
13. Arizona Cardinals: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
14. Dallas Cowboys: Mark Barron, S, Alabama
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
16. New York Jets: Andre Branch, DE, Clemson
17. Cincinnati Bengals: Michael Floyd, WR, Note Dame
18. San Diego Chargers: Cordy Glenn, OL, Georgia
20. Tennessee Titans: Stephon Gilmore, CB,South Carolina
21. Cincinnati Bengals: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
22. Cleveland Browns: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
23. Detroit Lions: Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama