John Hightower Roster Profile
John Hightower was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles with the 23rd pick in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Hightower, played his college football at Boise State, where he contributed for two years, after transferring from Hinds Community College.
In this series we will examine:
- Hightower’s prospect profile from our Head of College and NFL Draft Content Simon Carroll
- his productivity in college
- his potential opportunities in the NFL in the upcoming season
PRO’S: Lightning-quick who can turn on the jets at the drop of a hat. Able to keep defensive backs off-guard with variation of quickness on his release. Almost instantaneous top speed and a true deep threat. Dangerous with the ball in his hands and has a nose for good angles and developing open field. Impressive footwork off the line, allowing him to plant and go early and allow his speed to do the separating. Packed on the pounds since the end of the season. Added value as a returner on special teams.
CON’S: Lightweight and complete lack of functional play strength. If he gets touched by press coverage he’s not winning his route. Needs a free release and might be moved to the slot which makes sense but you lose the outside deep element to his repertoire. Remains to be seen if his added weight helps or hinders his game. Inconsistent route running and timing – looks confused sometimes when the ball is in the air. Won’t be on the field as a a blocker. Not going to be a reliable outlet on shallow and intermediate routes.
SIMON CARROLL: “Hightower will have his fans, and it’s good to see him try to address his lack of play strength in the pre-draft process. He’s scary quick over the first ten yards and at the very least will be an asset to the special teams unit, but until he’s able to compete against man coverage early on routes his game is going to be boom or bust”.
NFL COMPARISON: DARIUS HEYWARD-BEY
Opportunities at the next level
Hightower has freakish speed, the sort of pace that will translate well as a deep threat receiver in the NFL. Signing for a WR needy team in Philadelphia is a great place for Hightower to develop. Just don’t expect to see him much in 2020. The selection of Jalen Reagor in the first round should take some pressure off Hightower this year. Reagor will be expected to play a key role from the outset, whereas Hightower will get time to improve the raw elements of his game.
An area of Hightower’s game to watch out for is as a gadget man on offense. Hightower carried the ball 24 times in his two season at Boise State, averaging over 13 yards per carry. When Hightower is on the field teams will have to beware his utility, especially if injuries limit the time that DeSean Jackson can see on the field next season.
One area where you can expect to see Hightower take to the field in 2020 is on special teams. The former Boise State wideout will likely be given the chance to compete for kick and punt returns in his rookie year. With time, expect Hightower to contribute consistently in Philly.
TOM WATCHED HIS FIRST EVER NFL GAME AT AN EX’S HOME IN NORTH CAROLINA IN 2013 AND “ENCOURAGED” TO SUPPORT THE INDIANAPOLIS COLTS. ONE BREAK-UP AND FOUR YEARS LATER, HE SWITCHED ALLEGIANCE TO THE JETS AND HAS BEEN OBSESSED WITH THE GAME EVER SINCE. TOM CAN BE FOUND ON TWITTER AT @DOWNTHEMANNYRD