LB Ali Highsmith [LSU] (1 Viewer)

Conrad

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I have been watching the Senior Bowl practices that I taped this week and I was focusing on Keith Rivers and Don Conner. Both are impressive prospects, but not elite prospects. A player that grew on me as I watched practices was LB Ali Highsmith from LSU.

When the Senior Bowl started I said to myself that I was going to follow whatever LB MIke Singletary really liked as his favorites in the past 2 years, Pat Willis [2007] and DeMeco Ryans [2006], have both won defensive player of the year. Singletary while being interviewed by the NFL Network guys specifically mentioned Highsmith and in practice gave him the most attention.

Highsmith to me might be the most underrated LB prospect in the draft. We all knew that he had great speed and ability to track plays down. Then he comes into the Senior Bowl and shows that he is not as small as many had feared coming in at 6' 230lbs. I also watched him in practice and he was as equally as physical as Connors and Rivers.

I think Highsmith would be an interesting trade down and draft for the Saints at a minimum we are getting a great WLB prospect and possibly a player that can move inside and play the MLB spot with some big boys in front of him.

HIghsmith is getting almost identical scouting reports to Demeco Ryans when he came out and is actually bigger then Demeco was at the Senior Bowl.

Demeco Ryans

Ryans is a very good all around talent at linebacker. His strength is reacting to plays in front of him and closing on the ball. DeMeco has excellent read and react skills. He can see the play develop and close on the ball carrier before the play gets going. He does not let up anywhere on the field and goes full tilt at all times. The intelligence he has in the classroom carries over to the football field.
In order for him to make his presence felt at the next level, Ryans is going to have to pack on some weight. Checking in at 226 at the Senior Bowl, Ryans does not have the bulk or strength to hold up at the point against NFL blockers. He also lacks blazing speed to make up for any size issue he may have.

Ali Highsmith

Highsmith is the ideal weakside linebacker prospect. He is a very good athlete, with excellent closing speed that flies around the field. He has the ability to come off the edge and close on the quarterback, and the speed to chase backs down. Highsmith is very good in coverage, where his athleticism and speed allow him to stay stride for stride with his man and follow them all over the field.
Size is the glaring issue with Highsmith. His height and overall bulk are below average, and he can be taken out of running plays when a blocker comes straight at him. He lacks the size and strength to shed blocks once engaged, so he has to beat blockers with his quickness.
Highsmith is an attractive option for a team that needs speed and playmaking ability in a weakside linebacker. He is very active and has the talent to be a standout in that role, but his size and strength limits him to that spot. His natural gifts should be on display in the post season, which could push him up into first round consideration.


As I side note many people on this board accuse people of being LSU Homers, I am neither from Louisiana nor do I cheer for LSU.
 

Saint Droopy

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I got laughed at when I said Highsmith would be a top 15 pick... he gets his chance today... I hope he does well. I want Rivers at #10, but if we could trade down... get more pick(s), and still get out OLB of the future in highsmith... then I'm all for it.

Call it homerism or whatever...
 

donato

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I'd love to have him, but not at #10. If we can get down to #15 or lower I'd look at him. I'm thinking right now that if we don't take Ellis, ideally we would trade down because I think there is too much of a jumble this year as far as what I would think to be player grades (i.e. not much difference in quality between the player picked at #10 and the player picked at #20).
 

BoNcHiE

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Mike Singletary says he is like Derrick Brooks. In other words hes a little undersized and will be drafted by a Cover 2 team.

He is a good LB and a playmaker, but he doesn't fit our system. I understand everyone just wanting anything breathing with LB beside their name, but we still have to pick guys for what we play. He is not BPA at 10, not even close. Loomis goes BPA, so unless we trade down into the 20's we will not draft him.
 
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Conrad

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Has anyone watched Highsmith play extensively and if so could you give us your scouting report on him.

I love Mayock and the other draft analysts are good, but I trust Singletary's opinion over anyone elses when it comes to LB talent.
 

NPs6724

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Mike Singletary says he is like Derrick Brooks. In other words hes a little undersized and will be drafted by a Cover 2 team.

Did Singletary specifically mention those (undersized and Cover 2) or are you insinuating? Highsmith has played in a man defense his whole college career and excelled. WLB doesn't usually face an OL 1-on-1 unless it's a pulling guard and his main concern is coverage of the RB. To make a physical comparison, WLB Lance Briggs is 6'1, 240. WLB EJ Henderson (a guy many people have wanted at LB) is 6'1, 245. I think once he bulks up some, Highsmith will do fine.
 

BoNcHiE

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Did Singletary specifically mention those (undersized and Cover 2) or are you insinuating? Highsmith has played in a man defense his whole college career and excelled. WLB doesn't usually face an OL 1-on-1 unless it's a pulling guard and his main concern is coverage of the RB. To make a physical comparison, WLB Lance Briggs is 6'1, 240. WLB EJ Henderson (a guy many people have wanted at LB) is 6'1, 245. I think once he bulks up some, Highsmith will do fine.

Yeah, and right now Highsmith is barely above 220. He'll have to gain at least 15 pounds of muscle and once he does that will he still be as fast and fluid? I'm not sure if Singletary said specifically he is a Cover 2 backer, but I thought I read such in a report posted by someone here a day ago.
 

NPs6724

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Yeah, and right now Highsmith is barely above 220. He'll have to gain at least 15 pounds of muscle and once he does that will he still be as fast and fluid? I'm not sure if Singletary said specifically he is a Cover 2 backer, but I thought I read such in a report posted by someone here a day ago.

The OP said Highsmith was 6', 230. Which of these weights is accurate? Anyone know?
 

BoNcHiE

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The OP said Highsmith was 6', 230. Which of these weights is accurate? Anyone know?

Last I saw, he weighed in at 224. I could be wrong though.

Edit: Just checked the senior bowl site. Hes 228.
 

hardhead233

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I'd like the possibility of us trading down and taking Highsmith(Rivers, a guy who many like on here I think is not much if any better then Highsmith) and maybe picking up and extra pick to take maybe another defensive player or RB/OL in the later rounds...
 

LSSpam

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Mike Singletary says he is like Derrick Brooks. In other words hes a little undersized and will be drafted by a Cover 2 team.

So is Lance Briggs and everyone and their sister wants him in Free Agency.

All linebackers are undersized these days. The evolution of NFL offenses just requires too much speed. As teams spread the field more and more you have linebackers fighting off fullbacks or tightends less and less and having to cover guys who run a 4.5 or less deep down the middle of the field or cover the field sideline-to-sideline.

Besides, it's not like any of our current linebackers can fight off blocks either.

Ali Highsmith is a little light but he's a still a "strong" linebacker, he's not going to get mauled or man handled, and i'd love to have him.
 

BoNcHiE

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So is Lance Briggs and everyone and their sister wants him in Free Agency.

All linebackers are undersized these days. The evolution of NFL offenses just requires too much speed. As teams spread the field more and more you have linebackers fighting off fullbacks or tightends less and less and having to cover guys who run a 4.5 or less deep down the middle of the field or cover the field sideline-to-sideline.

Besides, it's not like any of our current linebackers can fight off blocks either.

Ali Highsmith is a little light but he's a still a "strong" linebacker, he's not going to get mauled or man handled, and i'd love to have him.

At the 10th pick or are you are just saying hypothetically you'd like to have him?
 

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