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2012 NFL Draft: Dont'a Hightower Moving Up Draft Boards?

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AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 26:  Dont'a Hightower #30 of the Alabama Crimson Tide calls the defense against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 26: Dont'a Hightower #30 of the Alabama Crimson Tide calls the defense against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Any news about linebackers in the upcoming draft is news that's relevant to Eagles fans. While we can have no idea whether the Eagles will take a linebacker with one of their top picks, we can all agree that they need help at the spot.

Of course, unlike last year, free agency will happen before the draft. So what teams need now will be different then. But if the Eagles still do have a hole at middle linebacker come April, one possible candidate to fill it could be the hulking the Dont'a Hightower from the national champion Alabama Crimson Tide. Here's what ESPN's Kevin Weidl had to say about him yesterday.

The more I watch Hightower, the more impressed I am. His size (6-3½, 260) and power between the tackles are second to none, and his thick base and instincts allow him to control things inside and stone ball carriers at the line of scrimmage.

Hightower's overall bulk -- some scouts believe he's gotten up to 270 pounds -- raises concerns about his range, but he did show versatility against LSU by putting his hand on the ground and using a good inside move to get to Jefferson and strip the ball away on a key fourth-down play.

While he could stand to slim down a bit and gain some quickness, Hightower's instincts, physical play and ability as a stack-and-shed defender at the point of attack give him a chance to move from the early-to-mid second round into the later part of the first if he enters the draft as a junior. The Giants and Ravens (who might be in the market for the heir apparent to Ray Lewis) are possible late-first landing spots, while the Panthers could possibly add Hightower early in the second.