With the 102nd pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Charlotte's Alex Highsmith.
Highsmith arrives to Pittsburgh as one of the more underrated pass-rushers in the class, a position the Steelers wished to target with very little depth behind players such as T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree.
In my preview of EDGE/OLB for the draft, I highlighted Highsmith as a potential player to watch in the mid-rounds. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was extremely high on Highsmith after playing him:
"He’s physical and fast,” said Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney on Highsmith. “He’s causing sacks and tips. They had a pick-six against UMAss that he caused and created. But (he's) a really really good football player. But he could play for anyone in the country."
Here's what NFL.com's Lance Zierlein has to offer on Highsmith:
The Steelers undoubtedly were going to address their needs at outside linebacker, it was just a matter of when. Highsmith is super quick off the ball, and has all the tools to succeed in the NFL. Is pick 102 a bit high for Highsmith? Based on previous projections, just maybe.
However, with some doubt that Bud Dupree will be signing a long-term deal in 2020, the team adds immediate depth that has potential to develop into a full-time starter. Highsmith didn't play many snaps in pass coverage at Charlotte, but he's explosive off the ball with a high motor to match, two facets of a player you can't teach.
The Steelers aimed high for Highsmith, and while the immediate impact will likely only reflect on special teams, Highsmith's development could lead to big things past 2020.
Draft Grade: C+