|The captain of BCS champion Alabama's imposing defense, Hightower opted to forego his final year with the Crimson Tide to enter the draft after a stellar season in which he was a consensus first-team All-American. A finalist for the Lombardi, Butkus and Bednarik awards as well as the Lott Trophy, Hightower called the team's plays on the field and helped Alabama lead all FBS teams in scoring defense, rush defense and total defense. He finished with a team-leading 85 tackles, including 11 for losses, and had four sacks with an interception. Besides his understanding of the game, Hightower's biggest asset is his efficiency playing the inside linebacker position. He takes proper angles, knows how to fight off blockers and uses his hands well in terms of pass coverage against both receivers and tight ends. While Hightower doesn't have elite speed to cover the width of the field, he makes a consistent impact at the point of attack because he is so fundamentally sound. At the next level, Hightower will have to improve his physical pass-coverage skills in terms of the secondary part of the play. He also needs to learn how to change his direction quicker in man coverage, he doesn't open his hips particularly fast and could be susceptible to overrunning plays. Hightower, though, could be a late first-round pick to address a team's need at the inside linebacker position and will at worst be a second-round selection.