Alex Highsmith is a long shot for second-team All-Pro honors
Apart from T.J. Watt and Chris Boswell, Alex Highsmith is probably the only other player on the team you could make the case for potentially earning All-Pro honors in 2023. Cameron Heyward missed half the year with a groin injury, and Minkah hasn't earned so much as an interception when he has been on the field. Meanwhile, Joey Porter Jr. has been impressive, but penalties and inconsistencies won't earn him many votes this year.
If you can look past the lack of production (just 6.0 sacks entering Week 16), per ESPN stats, Highsmith is having the best season of his NFL career so far. The former college walk-on at Charlotte and third-round pick of the Steelers in 2020 has taken his play to another level after earning a massive contract extension during the 2023 offseason.
Though the bar is pretty low in Pittsburgh this year, Highsmith is routinely one of the best players on the Steelers week in and week out. His ability to generate pressure has resulted in sacks for other Steelers defenders numerous times this year, and his ability to play a high percentage of snaps is coveted.
Next to Watt, Highsmith might be the most valuable player on the team this year. But the question comes down to whether or not Associated Press voters can look past his lack of production. With Watt and Garrett locks, guys like Maxx Crosby, Trey Hendrickson, and Josh Allen will each warrant heavy consideration.
One thing that could benefit Highsmith is if the AP elects to label him as a linebacker (where the competition for All-Pro votes isn't nearly as still). It's a long shot that Highsmith will earn this honor for his 2023 performance, but he has had a great year -- even if that doesn't always show up on the stat sheet.