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2012 NFL Draft: Ken Laird Profiles Alabama LB Dont'a Hightower

Ken Laird of Trib Total Media published a profile of Alabama linebacker Dont'a Hightower Friday afternoon, as many different mock drafts have the Steelers taking Hightower with the No. 24 overall pick in the draft.

Laird spoke with Hightower about a broad range of subjects, including overcoming a brutal knee injury that he suffered during his sophomore season at Alabama, and how he has felt since then.

"I feel as fast as I've ever felt, even before the knee injury," said Hightower. "I feel like I've got my speed back, and that was pretty much an open factor to my success. After the knee injury I knew what it was going to take, I knew I was going to be out for a time. After the knee incident and after the surgery I was going to work back to where I am and I definitely feel I'm just about to where I need to be."

After putting in a time of 4.62 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, ranking 10th among linebackers, Hightower thought he was where he needed to be, although he is working on cutting down his current weight of 265 pounds.

"Hopefully by Pro-Day [March 7th] I'll bump it down to 260, or 255 [lbs.]," he said. "I actually feel like I'm moving pretty good right now. As far as my 40 and my shuttle run and everything, I'm looking really good [like] back way before the knee injury. Way more fluent. I just feel like in order for me to maximize my performance in the NFL, playing inside linebacker I feel like I maybe need to drop a couple more pounds."

Laird also agrees that Hightower is the most likely target for the Steelers in the first round.

For more on the Pittsburgh Steelers, make sure to visit Behind the Steel Curtain. For more on the NFL Draft, stop by Mocking the Draft.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.