Pittsburgh Steelers edge rusher Alex Highsmith made the jump from a rotational player as a rookie to a regular starter in 2021. Now the third-year player is looking to make another leap.
“I gotta hit those double-digit sack markers,” Highsmith told SiriusXM NFL Radio earlier this week, via Steelers Depot. “And so I’m just gonna do whatever I can. I’ve been working my butt off this offseason. Just be the best player that I can be. I’m in great shape right now. Feel great. … I know the goal that I’ve had for this year is that 10-to-12 sack mark and just continuing to make plays in the run game.”
After a two-sack rookie campaign, he netted six sacks in 2021 and added 38 total pressures, per Pro Football Focus.
Pittsburgh didn’t make another significant addition to the edge-rusher spot this year — after last offseason’s experiment with Melvin Ingram didn’t work out — necessitating a big campaign from Highsmith. The Steelers boast Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt, who tied the NFL record with 22.5 sacks last season. But behind Watt and Highsmith, there isn’t a proven rotational difference-maker on the edge.
With Watt commanding the bulk of the attention, Highsmith reaching his goal of double-digit sacks isn’t outlandish and would make the Steelers defense that much more formidable in 2022.
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