The Steelers drafted a small-school edge defender in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Here are my high-end, low-end, most likely pro comparisons for Alex Highsmith.
Alex Highsmith is a name that has fans intrigued. In just four years’ time, the former college walk-on at Charlotte not only became an All-American but ended up being a day-two selection in the NFL Draft. The Steelers have had luck with small-school players in the past. In fact, Javon Hargrave and Diontae Johnson are two recent examples of Pittsburgh going with non-Power 5 players in the third round.
Highsmith was incredibly productive at Charlotte, and as a senior, he wowed scouts with his array of moves on the field and eye-popping production (75 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, and 15.0 sacks). Fans are always interested to know good player comparisons for Steelers draft choices.
After careful examination, I have come up with a low-end, high-end, and most likely NFL comparison for Steelers edge defender, Alex Highsmith:
Low-end NFL comparison: Tim Williams
Tim Williams was a former third-round pick by the Ravens back in 2017. Though he did not share the same small-school experience prior to the draft, Williams was a very productive football player (16.0 tackles for loss, 9.0 sacks as a senior) at Alabama.
Williams tested as a very similar athlete to Highsmith, and while he provides plenty of speed around the edge, there are questions about whether or not he could hold up against the run at the NFL level.
Though Williams seemed like a steal in the third round at the time, he has gone on to do very little in his first three NFL seasons earning just 2.0 sacks and 0 starts in 20 games. He was cut by the Ravens last year and signed by the Packers. I certainly don’t wish this upon Highsmith, but there is a chance his floor is a player like Tim Williams.