Steelers new hefty contract to Alex Highsmith brings positive and negative outlooks

Pittsburgh Steelers, Alex Highsmith
Pittsburgh Steelers, Alex Highsmith / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages
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One concern could be Highsmith becoming another version of Bud Dupree

One issue that many are still concerned about is the potential of Highsmith becoming a repeat situation of what happened to Bud Dupree. There are a lot of differences in their stories to this point in their careers, but the concerns are valid to some extent. Dupree was a first-round pick of the Steelers and took a couple of years before he started to produce.

Most labeled that as the Watt effect as he only started to put up numbers once Watt joined the team. Dupree would have an outstanding last season in Pittsburgh before it ended in abrupt fashion to a knee injury. He would sign a massive deal with the Tennessee Titans but would never live up to that deal with his lack of production there.

One thing that can make those that worry about this deal regarding Highsmith becoming Dupree is Highsmith produced without Watt. Last season when Watt was out of the lineup, Highsmith was on pace for a season with double digit sacks. He was getting extra attention and was still able to apply pressure on the opposition's quarterback.

The concern is valid as Highsmith was only able to produce at a high-level last year, but that was also his toughest challenge yet. He is a solid player for this defense and rivals Watt's numbers when you compare their numbers at the point of Highsmith's career. Everything could come crumbling down if he is not able to continue the level of play that he had last season, but he should be able to continue that into his prime.