Dont’a Hightower is in his seventh season with the New England Patriots, and coach Bill Belichick continues to praise the former Alabama linebacker for what he brings to the team.

Earlier this week, Belichick broke down how important Hightower is to the Patriots’ defense and what makes him a special player.

“Sometimes players, maybe they can’t even tell you how they know what the right thing to do is, they just know what the right thing to do is,” Belichick told the media on Monday, according to “Sometimes they anticipate it. Sometimes it just comes to them just instinctively. But High’s a smart player. He can play multiple positions. The mental part of the game seems to come very easy for him, going between Mike or Sam or Will or defensive end or a different position in pass rush on third down. Assignment-wise, all those come pretty easily for him, and athletically, he has a great combination of size, power, pass rush, zone, man coverage — he’s done all those things for us.”

Belichick also discussed how Hightower helps the players around him be better.

“Because of his experience at all the different linebacker positions as well as defensive end, I think he has a real good feel for what everybody else needs to know and how important it is that they get the proper communication, because he’s played all those spots,” Belichick told the media. “And so he does a great job for us in that area.”

Hightower was selected by the Patriots in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft after playing four seasons for the Crimson Tide from 2008-11.

This year, Hightower has 13 tackles through New England’s first four games. He has 399 career tackles, along with 19 sacks and two forced fumbles.

Hightower and the Patriots open Week 5 of the NFL season when they host the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday night.