I hope we don’t ever have to find out for sure, but I think Hightower could be a suitable fill-in for Spikes at middle linebacker if needed.
But what we’ve seen primarily out of him this year is at strongside linebacker and a bit of nickel linebacker. I don’t think we’ll really get a full sense of what he’s capable until next year with a season in the system under his belt. I know a lot of people wanted to see him as a hand-down pass rusher when Cunningham and Jones were out but we haven’t seen much of that.
I would love to see them continue to utilize his blitzing skills. He’s a strong player and can do multiple things. As he gets more and more experience he should continue to blossom, he’s just been a bit inconsistent this year, as should be expected.