The Steelers pass rush in 2021 was still one of the best in the NFL. it was a unit that led the NFL in sacks, yet again, and terrorized many quarterbacks on the year. T.J. Watt and Cam Heyward were the main culprits, as always, but Alex Highsmith was often not far behind the two as the third spoke on the wheel.
Highsmith finished the season with 47 pressures and 25 quarterback hits to complement his six sacks. Against the Chiefs, Highsmith registered five total pressures to round out a strong finish to the season for him. However, Highsmith is not entirely satisfied with his progression just yet. If he can, he wants to take that next step.
“I feel like I can always get better at every aspect of my game – run game, pass game, but I know that my goal this year was to have double-digit sacks and I didn’t achieve that,” Highsmith said. “So, that’s something I am going to work my butt off to achieve next year. I am going to just continue to work and work on my moves and continue to refine my moves. That is something I am going to do this offseason and just going to continue to get strong in the run game. I know I like to play that physical game, so that’s what I am going to continue to work on this year. I can’t wait to get back to work.”
Highsmith notes that he really wants to improve on all parts of his game. However, in order to unlock that game wrecker’s ability, his pass-rushing might just need a little bit more zest. On a pure snap-by-snap basis, it is clear how close he is overall. The pass rush plan part of things might be something Highsmith wants to work the most at, however.
“No doubt, I think it’s not only me getting stronger, but getting faster,” Highsmith said. “I think it’s also me watching film through the offseason as well and dissecting my film and looking at guys I go against, in this division of tackles. So it’s important to know who you are playing against, so I look forward to studying my own tape to see my flaws and how I can get better and just also studying tackles and seeing how they set against me and stuff like that. But I can’t wait for Year 3. I am looking forward to it. ”
Highsmith should be a popular choice to be a breakout candidate on the Steelers in 2022. In order to help facilitate that, Highsmith has called upon the help of his superstar teammate, T.J. Watt. Highsmith and Watt will meet up in the offseason to work on their games together to improve.
“I hope to go up there and visit him at his facility for a little bit in Wisconsin, that would be really cool,” Highsmith said. “Because I know he’s got great work up there and just to be able to work with him would be awesome, so we have talked about it so it’s gonna be a good offseason for both of us.”
Regardless of the offseason plan, Highsmith has a bright future ahead of him, and he rightfully should be excited about his third year in the NFL.