50 best players in the AFC East

12 of 51

Dont’a Hightower

A product of the University of Alabama, Hightower was drafted 25th overall by the Patriots in the 2012 NFL Draft. In 2013 Hightower led the team with 97 combined tackles but the real payoff for the Patriots came last season when Hightower stopped Seattle Seahawk running back Marshawn Lynch on the one yard line in the Super Bowl. The following play, Russell Wilson was intercepted to seal the Patriots Super Bowl victory.

In his three year NFL career, Hightower has posted 60 total tackles in 2012, 97 in 2013, and 89 in 2014. He has 11 sacks on his career and eight passes defensed.

Consensus All-American (2011)
First-team All-SEC (2011)
SEC Defense player of the week (2011)
Eight-time Alabama Defensive Player of the Week SEC
Lott IMPACT National Player of the Week and SEC Defensive Player of the Week (Tennessee)
BCS National Champion (2009, 2011)
SEC Champion (2009)