Steelers LB Alex Highsmith a prime candidate for a bounceback

Pittsburgh Steelers edge Alex Highsmith had a breakout campaign in 2022. His 14.5 sacks were a career-high and Highsmith parlayed that production into a four-year, $68 million extension in the 2023 offseason.

Unfortunately, 2023 wasn’t what Highsmith was hoping for the first year after his big payday as he finished with only seven sacks. The reasons for Highsmith’s drop in production was due to a combination of factors but if we understand how Highsmith operates, we are not better against him for 2023.

Last season Highsmith played more than 80 percent of the defensive snaps and with Markus Golden gone, we don’t see that going down. The key for Highsmith is to make better use of the one-on-ones he’s getting with T.J. Watt being double and triple-teamed on the other side.

The only think that could slow Highsmith down this season is the emergence of Nick Herbig. As a rookie, Herbig flashed some skills and will be the team’s primary backup to Highsmith and Watt. If Highsmith struggles at all, look for Herbig to see an increased role.

Story originally appeared on Steelers Wire