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30 Scenarios in 30 Days: Alex Highsmith will return to double digit sack totals

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the 2024 regular season, but before the real games begin, the team has to head to training camp back at Saint Vincent College in order to fine tune their skills. As we here at SCN prepare you for the start of camp, we give you a series called “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” which gives you a Steelers scenario every day leading up to the start of camp.

It is simple how it works. We provide you the scenario, reasons why it will or won’t happen, and then our prediction for what we think will take place.

Let’s get to the scenario…

Scenario: Alex Highsmith will return to double digit sack totals

Why it will happen: When you have someone named Trent Jordan Watt lining up across the line of scrimmage from you, it will allow someone like Alex Highsmith to have more one-on-ones on the opposite side. On top of being given more of those one-on-ones, Highsmith has stayed extremely healthy throughout his short career. In his four years, he’s only missed two games. Your best ability is your availability, and Highsmith has that in spades. (Note: I knocked on wood for those who are superstitious.)

While Highsmith has stayed healthy, I also don’t want to portray him as a lesser-than player. The Steelers signed him to a big contract for a reason, and it is because he is immensely talented. Highsmith has improved every year as a professional, and him taking a big step forward to getting three more sacks in 2024 isn’t a crazy feat for him to reach. Highsmith is talented enough to make this happen.

Why it won’t happen: In his first four seasons Highsmith has been relatively consistent outside of the 14.5 sack season in 2022. Unfortunately for Highsmith, his consistency is typically in the single digit range.


  • 2020: 2
  • 2021: 6
  • 2022: 14.5
  • 2023: 7

On top of his rather mundane statistics 3-out-of-4 seasons, Highsmith also hasn’t shown the ability to win the one-on-one matchups on a consistent basis. When he does, there are times when T.J. Watt literally beats him to the quarterback. Highsmith might win some of those matchups, but the fact he is playing with a super freak named T.J. Watt hinders his overall sack production.

Another factor to consider are the team’s inside linebackers. Patrick Queen, Payton Wilson and Elandon Roberts are extremely adept at blitzing the quarterback, and the Steelers might adjust their pass rushing scheme to help emphasize this. Unless it is an all-out blitz, there will be occasions when the outside linebackers don’t rush the quarterback in the traditional sense. Great for the defense, but not great for someone like Highsmith reaching double-digit sacks.

Prediction: While I think Highsmith has an improved season, I don’t see him cracking the double-digit sack total in 2024. If someone were to ask me to set a line for Highsmith’s sacks, I’d lean towards 8.5 or 9.5. I’d take the over at 8.5, but the under at 9.5. Yes, I’m predicting 9 sacks for Highsmith in 2024, which would still be a welcome sight for the Steelers defense.

Miss a scenario? Check out yesterday’s scenario below, and be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for training camp.

30 Scenarios In 30 Days: No Rookies Will Start Week 1 For The Steelers In 2024


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