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Steelers OLB Alex Highsmith Tabbed as Likely First Time Pro Bowler

Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Alex Highsmith could be poised to make the Pro Bowl in the 2024 season.



Pittsburgh Steelers OLB Alex Highsmith
Pittsburgh Steelers OLB Alex Highsmith at the team's mandatory minicamp, June 12, 2024 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Alex Highsmith has enjoyed a successful last two seasons of his career, including his breakout 14.5 sack season in 2022. But in 2023, the numbers did not follow as much. Part of that was likely T.J. Watt staying healthy, which ate into Highsmith’s opportunities, even with his clear wins. Yet, he has failed to make a Pro Bowl in his career. But 2024 could change that for Highsmith.

Sports Illustrated’s Connor Orr looks at Alex Highsmith and could see him earning his first Pro Bowl nod in 2024, especially after the tape revealed a better season than the actual stat sheet. Highsmith played at a high level, and he should likely be set to do so again.

Steelers OLB Alex Highsmith

Steelers OLB Alex Highsmith against the Buffalo Bills, Jan. 15, 2024 – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

“Last year against the 49ers, Highsmith was holding his ground while the best outside-zone running game in the league went right at him, splitting multiple defenders to bring down the best running back in the NFL, Christian McCaffrey,” Orr wrote. He’s also pretty hard to manipulate with mobile quarterbacks running zone read, as we saw from that incredible first game against the Cleveland Browns last year. On top of that, of course, Highsmith has had a high volume of sacks, which he’s always going to have to share with T.J. Watt.”

Highsmith’s rare blend of speed and bend makes his speed rush a worthy adversary for most NFL tackles. But in the last few years, he has bulked up and added power to his game, and his toolbox of pass-rush moves gets deeper and deeper by the year. The patented spin move is something that Highsmith loves to use as an inside counter, but he has overused it for tackles to sit on it.

So, he developed new, innovative moves into his game. The diversification of his moves has allowed him to leap into the next stratosphere of pass rushers. With the complete game now in front of him, Highsmith seems set to rebound to the 2022 stat line this season, and that could certainly earn him a spot in the 2024 Pro Bowl.