Dont'a Hightower LB NE 4 Months

OLB Dont'a Hightower wants to be used more as a pass rusher on third down.

"I'll just put it out there: I would much rather rush or blitz than to cover: zone, man, or whatever," Hightower said. The Patriots would rather him rush as well. Hightower was one of the worst cover linebackers in the leagues last season, but he does have some skills as a pass rusher. Still, he will likely be limited to a two-down role in 2014.

Dont'a Hightower LB NE 4 Months

ESPN Boston expects the Patriots to remove OLB Dont'a Hightower in all sub-packages this season.

Hightower was one of the worst cover linebackers in the league last year, so the Patriots are limiting him to more of a two-down role. Jamie Collins projects to get the majority of snaps opposite Jerod Mayo in nickel packages.

Dont'a Hightower LB NE Oct 26 '12

Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower returned to the field in Week 7 after missing two games with a hamstring injury.

Hightower recorded seven tackles and a sack versus the Jets, bringing his season total to 28 total tackles, two sacks, one fumble recovery and a touchdown. He and Chandler Jones have been two of the most impressive defensive rookies in the league this season.

Dont'a Hightower LB NE Oct 05 '12

Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower (hamstring) expects to be a game-time decision for Sunday versus the Broncos.

Hightower has put in a limited practice each day this week and says he has no pain in the hamstring. "It's up to coach. If he feels like I'm ready to go, then I'm going to go out there and do what I can," Hightower said of his stats. Tracy White filled in last week, and Bobby Carpenter was signed for depth.

Dont'a Hightower LB NE Sep 30 '12

Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower left Sunday's win over the Bills with a hamstring injury, but a source tells the Herald that he's "good."

Hightower tried to get back in the game by stretching and riding the bike on the sideline, but never returned to the field. It's a sign of a Grade 1, or mild, strain. The rookie declined to comment on the injury after the game.

Dont'a Hightower LB NE Aug 08 '12

CSN New England insider Tom Curran believes first-round LB Dont'a Hightower will have the biggest impact among all newcomers for the Patriots.

It's high praise considering the impressive training camps of Brandon Lloyd and fellow first-rounder Chandler Jones. Curran points out that Rob Ninkovich and Jermaine Cunningham have been mismatched at the position whereas Hightower is ideally suited to the dual duties of stopping the run and covering tight ends. "Hightower has been unbelievable in training camp, and he's going to be unbelievable when the regular season starts," adds Curran.

Dont'a Hightower LB NE Jul 28 '12

Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower is working with the first-team defense ahead of Bobby Carpenter.

It's surprising in that it wasn't expected to happen this early, but Hightower has the potential to be a major contributor in year one. In addition to working as the Patriots' starting strong-side linebacker, he'll provide depth inside behind Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes in sub-defenses.

Dont'a Hightower LB NE Jul 18 '12

Patriots agreed to terms with rookie LB Dont'a Hightower, the No. 25 overall pick, on a four-year contract.

As expected, rookie signings at the top of the draft are picking up as urgency builds just ahead of training camp. Hightower is a versatile thumper who figures to challenge for the Patriots' starting strong-side linebacker job in 4-3 looks, while kicking inside in the 3-4. Hightower's primary competition for snaps this August will come from Rob Ninkovich and Bobby Carpenter.

Dont'a Hightower LB NE Jul 01 '12

ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss points out that No. 25 pick LB Dont'a Hightower's contract is being held up by fourth-year guarantees.

It's the same issue several players picked in the late first round are having, including No. 22 pick Brandon Weeden. Late first-rounders generally get the first three seasons of their four-year rookie deals guaranteed, but none or only some of the fourth. Reiss suggests Hightower could be waiting to see what happens with players around him before he signs.