Bill Belichick has long been known for trading down on draft day.
So, naturally, he traded up twice in the first round of this year’s event. Four picks after grabbing Chandler Jones to bolster their pass rush, the Patriots helped out their linebacking corps by drafting Dont’a Hightower from Alabama, coached by Belichick’s good buddy Nick Saban.
Hightower had long been linked with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but Pittsburgh opted to take David DeCastro with the 24th pick instead. That left Hightower for the Patriots and they made a trade with the Broncos to get the 25th overall selection. They gave up the 31st overall pick as well as a fourth round pick, the 126th overall.
It will be interesting to see how the Patriots use Hightower. He played all over the place with the Crimson Tide and was able to have an impact as both a pass rusher and a run stopper. New England could use a little bit of help in each of those areas, but there are questions about whether Hightower has enough speed to hold up in coverage.