The Steelers drafted outside linebacker Alex Highsmith from Charlotte with the No. 102 pick in the third round on Friday.
Highsmith, a 6-foot-3, 248-pounder, played linebacker and defensive end in four years with the Charlotte 49ers, who play in Conference USA.
In 58 games over four years at Charlotte, Highsmith made 25 starts, 12 in 2018 and 13 in 2019. As a senior, he made 75 total tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, 15 sacks and forced two fumbles.
Highsmith won’t be immediately called up to do a lot for the Steelers, as he’ll slot in behind starters Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt. Dupree, who signed his franchise tender for the 2020 season on Thursday, could leave as a free agent for 2021, so Highsmith could serve as the future of the position.
Highsmith was a player that the Steelers showed persistent interest in throughout the draft process.
At the 2020 NFL Combine, Highsmith ran a 4.7-second 40-yard dash, and also spoke with Steelers Now.
The Steelers’ selection at No. 102 was a compensatory selection that came as a result of losing running back Le’Veon Bell to free agency before the 2019 season.