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2012 NFL Mock Draft: Detroit Lions Take Dont’a Hightower

A mock draft from’s Steve Wyche has the Lions taking Alabama linebacker Dont’a Hightower.

SB Nation’s most current mock draft has the Lions drafting Iowa State offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele. Alfonzo Dennard, a cornerback from Nebraska, is another player that SB Nation’s mock draft has projected for the Lions. The current draft, however, has Dennard going off the board before Detroit picks at No. 23.

If they go with defense, the Lions could do a lot worse than Hightower. The 6-2, 260-pounder (or 6-4, if you go by Bama’s site) played three seasons for the Tide. He started 12 games as a freshman in 2008 and redshirted in 2009 after tearing his ACL four games into the season. As a sophomore in 2010 he was second on the team in tackles, and last season he led Bama’s No. 1-ranked defense with 85 tackles, earning consensus first-team All-American honors. He also had 11 tackles for loss, including four sacks.

Led by Hightower, Alabama’s D was tops in the nation in a host of statistical categories. They were No. 1 in points, allowing just 8.2 per game, and pitched a shutout in the BCS title game against LSU. At 183.6, the Tide was also No. 1 in yards per game (no other team allowed fewer than 261), and were No. 1 in both passing yards and rushing yards per game.

Not surprisingly for a team that’s won two of the past three national championships, there are a slew of Alabama players in the NFL. At linebacker, Bama has produced the likes of DeMeco Ryans and Rolando McClain.

Last season, Alabama defensive lineman Marcel Dareus was taken third overall by the Buffalo Bills. He went on to produce a 43-tackle, 5.5-sack rookie campaign, earning All-Rookie honors.

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