Steelers news: Alex Highsmith rightfully awarded after dominant performance

Alex Highsmith #56 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Alex Highsmith #56 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) /

Alex Highsmith played arguably the best game of his career in Week 10 against the Saints, and the Pittsburgh Steelers edge defender was rewarded for his efforts.

Pittsburgh’s Week 10 win against the New Orleans Saints was the best collective team effort I’ve seen from them all season. After re-watching the game and scouring through the all-22 film, it was evident that players on both sides of the ball were executing. However, there wasn’t a player who did so quite like Alex Highsmith.

From the gate, the third-year edge rusher garnered terrific pressure on Andy Dalton and made his presence felt. By the end of the game, Highsmith had recorded 5 tackles, 2.0 sacks, a tackle for a loss, and a QB hit, according to ESPN stats. These sacks helped force the Saints’ offense to punt the ball away — allowing Pittsburgh to dominate the time of possession battle.

In addition, Highsmith was outstanding against the run and a big reason why the Saints managed a dismal 1.9 yards per carry on the ground. One play, in particular, stood out to me. As he was asked to cover WR Jarvis Landry from the slot, Highsmith quickly shed his block to bring down Alvin Kamara on a swing pass.

Highsmith played a fantastic game, and the NFL took notice. He was awarded for his efforts by being named the Defensive Player of the Week for his dominance against the Saints in Week 10. Of course, he wasn’t without help, as the presence of T.J. Watt forced New Orleans to shift a great deal of attention in the direction of the reigning DPOY. However, this doesn’t take away from Highsmith’s brilliance this past Sunday.

Steelers need to pay Alex Highsmith

Alex Highsmith has climbed his way up the ladder from a former college walk-on at Charlotte to a third-round pick in the NFL to this. Not only has he become a starter for the Steelers after the departure of Bud Dupree, but he has quickly turned into one of the best players on this football team.

Outside of a few stars and a couple of promising players on the offensive side of the ball, the Steelers don’t have a lot of great young talent to build around for the future, but Highsmith is one player they should try to lock up for the long haul.

I’ve gone back and forth on this in the past, but his recent surge is showing that the deserves to stick around and be one of the highest-paid players on the team. The bad news is that, with each sack he earns, the price tag continues to go up for Pittsburgh. Considering his age, production, and the mostly clean bill of health throughout his career, Highsmith won’t come cheap.

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It’s great to see Highsmith earn the Defensive Player of the Week award, and we knew it was just a matter of time before he was recognized. It will be interesting to see how diligently the Pittsburgh Steelers try to lock him up following the 2022 season.