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Steelers' Highsmith: 'We can be the best defense in the NFL'

Joe Sargent / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Alex Highsmith believes the Steelers' defense can be special next season.

"I know 100% we can be the best defense in the NFL, especially if we all stay healthy," Highsmith said, according to team reporter Teresa Varley.

The Steelers' defense finished 10th in points per game allowed last season despite dealing with injuries at key positions. Pittsburgh went 1-6 in seven games without star pass-rusher T.J. Watt, who suffered a torn pectoral muscle.

Highsmith burst onto the scene, recording 14.5 sacks, three of which came in Watt's absence.

"We have so many good players," Highsmith said. "We have so many guys who are dedicated to this game. Last year, we started playing our best ball at the end of the year. If we can build on that, we can be the best."

The Steelers went 7-2 in their last nine games, allowing only 16.5 points per contest. That would've ranked first in the league across a 17-game schedule.

Pittsburgh made some critical additions across their defense this offseason. The Steelers drafted cornerback Joey Porter Jr. with the first pick in the second round of the draft to play across from Patrick Peterson, who they signed in free agency.

They also reshaped the linebacker position, signing Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts, who are both projected to start.

"I am excited about the guys that we have. We have depth at almost every position," Highsmith said. "It's been good seeing guys come together and get better and better every day. The sky is the limit for us. I am excited to see how we continue to grow."

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