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Seahawks NFL Draft Profile: John Hightower

Seattle may have added Phillip Dorsett this offseason, but the team still needs to add another wide receiver to compete for snaps with the first team offense. Hightower offers an intriguing day three option with special teams value.

It is officially "Draft Week" and the Seahawks are expected to be as busy as ever. With just seven picks and plenty of areas of concern left to address, general manager John Schneider will certainly be looking to add picks this weekend. 

Assuming Schneider is successful, double-dipping into the deep talent pool that is the wide receiver position may not be a bad idea. If he and the Seahawks are looking for a potential impact wideout on day three of the draft, they should look no further than Boise State Broncos receiver John Hightower.


The first adjective people will use to describe Hightower is "fast." He posted a great 4.43 40-yard dash time at the combine, which shouldn't be surprising given his track background. But there is more to his game than straight-line speed. Hightower is explosive, posting a near-elite 38.5-inch vertical jump and an above-average 122-inch broad jump in a dominant effort in Indianapolis.

Hightower possesses above-average route running skills and understands how to set up a defensive back by altering tempo and quickly accelerating in-and-out of breaks. He also possesses good size, standing 6-foot-2 and weighing 189 pounds, coming in bigger than expected at the combine.

Though he primarily did his damage for the Broncos as a downfield threat, Hightower has some wiggle in open field and ample burst once he has the football in his hands. There's potential for him to develop into a YAC monster at the next level off screens and quick passes.

Away from excelling as a receiver, Boise State deployed Hightower as a runner on jet sweeps frequently, as he rushed 16 times for 154 yards, averaging nearly 10 yards per touch. He also served as the team's primary kick returner, using his elite speed to return 26 kicks for 639 yards and one touchdown.

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Most of the flaws in Hightower's game can be contributed to one root problem: he isn't very strong. To describe him as "spindly" may be generous and unfortunately, it does show up on tape. He can get pushed around in press-man coverage and has issues winning 50-50 balls as defensive backs just out-muscle him at the catch point.

Despite having the speed to consistently create separation, Hightower doesn't track the deep ball particularly well either and isn't a good enough route-runner to beat tight coverage consistently. He has struggles at times setting up cornerbacks and doesn't always play to his 40-yard dash speed.

Hightower also needs to improve his hands and timing going for the football, as he allows passes to get deep into his body instead of trusting his hands to make the catch for him. While he has an adequate catch radius to make difficult grabs with extension, he dropped too many catchable balls at the college level.

Why he fits the Seahawks

Hightower's speed and explosiveness play right into the Seahawks' strengths. Seattle won't need him to be an immediate factor on offense and can allow him a redshirt season to work on his flaws if needed. Improving ones hands and adding strength are both learnable traits, so there isn't any reason to believe Hightower can't be a contributor by 2021.

His frame and speed will remind some of Paul Richardson, whom the Seahawks selected in the second round of the 2014 draft, and didn't see a breakout from him until his fourth season. As long as Hightower can stay healthy - which hasn't been an issue at the college level - he should have a chance to be more productive.

Because of the flaws in Hightower's game, he should be available early on day three and could last possibly as late as the sixth round. He can compete to return kicks and punts immediately and with some creativity from offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, could contribute some on offense as a rookie.