Steelers linebacker set for inaugural Pro Bowl nod.

The Pittsburgh Steelers head into the 2024 season boasting a formidable top-10 defense in the NFL. Their defensive unit is robust across all positions, with considerable depth. Expectations are high, and the team is poised to meet them.

Linebacker stands out as the Steelers’ strongest and deepest area. They feature three players who could start for any team: T.J. Watt, widely regarded as the premier player at his position; Nick Herbig, emerging as a future star; and Alex Highsmith, an underrated edge rusher in the league.

Highsmith, often overlooked in previous seasons, is anticipated to gain recognition in 2024. He is the Steelers’ second-edge rusher and could finally receive his due. Conor Orr of Sports Illustrated recently highlighted Highsmith among 10 players poised for their first Pro Bowl nod, praising his abilities and predicting a bright future.

Orr cited Highsmith’s standout performances, noting his ability to defend against potent running games and agile quarterbacks, as showcased in notable games against teams like the 49ers and Browns. Highsmith’s sack numbers dipped in 2023, but he remains a consistent threat to quarterbacks, with 21.5 sacks over the last two seasons and 27.5 over the past three.

Looking ahead, if Highsmith returns to his 2022 form with double-digit sacks in 2024, he could contend for All-Pro honors and a Pro Bowl selection. While he and the Steelers prioritize team success over personal accolades, recognition from the league is well-deserved and long overdue.