5 young Pittsburgh Steelers who should shine in 2021

Devin Bush #55 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Devin Bush #55 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Alex Highsmith (56). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

OLB Alex Higsmith

What an opportunity Alex Highsmith has been afforded. I don’t think there is a player, coach, or analysts out there who thought that this young man would be at this point this early in his NFL career. As I’m sure you are aware, Highsmith was a small-school walk-on who worked his way up the ladder at Charlotte. After becoming a starter, Highsmith was thoroughly impressive off the edge for the 49ers – compiling 40.0 tackles for a loss, 18.0 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles in his final two college seasons, according to Sports Reference.

Now, he has already become the starting right outside linebacker for the Steelers after a season-ending knee injury to Bud Dupree. Highsmith has done enough to impress coaches so far to this point – so much so that Pittsburgh may not consider drafting an edge defender high in 2020.

With a new role opposite of T.J. Watt, Highsmith could really get a chance to impress in 2021. With another offseason of NFL weight training and refining his pass-rush technique, he could take another step forward in 2021 and prove why he deserves to be a starting edge defender on one of the best defenses in football. Highsmith fits the mold of what the Steelers typically look for at the position, and his relentless demeanor will afford him plenty of opportunities to impress in 2021.