It’s always notable when the Pittsburgh Steelers show interest in any specific prospect but especially when it’s a small school player. So it’s double noteworthy the team had a meeting with Charlotte DE/OLB Alex Highsmith, according to Stampede Blue’s Zach Hicks.
Got off the phone with Charlotte DE Alex Highsmith. Really impressive guy. We talked about his favorite pass rush, what OTs do to signal him to use certain moves, and how he reacts vs jump sets/aggressive sets.
— Zach Hicks (@ZachHicks2) March 16, 2020
Of course, things are different with the lack of Top 30 visits, banned by the NFL due to the coronavirus crisis, but technology has still allowed teams to have important contact with these prospects. Especially for smaller school players who need all the exposure they can get.
Luckily for Highsmith, he worked out at the Combine. Standing in at 6’3/1, 248 pounds, he ran a 4.70 40 with a 1.68 ten yard split. In other testing, he jumped 33 inches in the vert, 10’5″ in the broad, and a 7.32 three cone. Good, not great overall numbers.
He blew up his senior season, notching 21.5 TFL and 15 sacks in 2019. Prior to that, he never had more than three sacks in a season. While he will still be considered small school, Charlotte is part of the FBS and plays in Conference USA. So he’s played D-1 level of competition.
Pittsburgh is still in the market for OLB help even after Bud Dupree’s franchise tag. A long-term deal is possible but can’t be assumed knowing TJ Watt is the bigger priority. Depth is questionable behind them with Ola Adeniyi having a forgettable first two years and Tuzar Skipper having hardly any NFL experience. Kevin Colbert called the outside linebacker class “unusually strong” at the Combine, indicating they’re serious about adding another name during the draft.