PITTSBURGH — Nick Herbig and his stellar preseason did not come out of nowhere. The fourth round pick opened up training camp playing at a high level, and then by the time the Steelers’ first game against the Buccaneers came around, the hype for Herbig was already there.
But even based on his training camp, his preseason proved to be surprising. He racked up 3.5 sacks and became the most productive rookie edge rusher in the preseason. PFF charter him having a pass rush win rate over 25 percent. All of those stats and the film line up to create a player who garnered hype and exceeded it.
Nick Herbig came into the Steelers locker room like a sponge. So far, the fourth-round draft pick stole T.J. Watt’s ghost move, sharpened his spin move with Alex Highsmith, and now is taking run defense tips from Markus Golden. His advice from Golden is the newest addition to the lessons that Herbig wants to take from three veterans around him.
“That kid got to bend, man; he can get around that edge,” Golden said. “He can hit any move you want, power, or doing what he wants to do in practice. He has so many moves that he works in practice, taking it over to the game film. He’s fantastic at practicing stuff he can take into the game.”
All veterans love Herbig’s willingness to embrace the knowledge around him. Not all rookies are willing to go up to veterans and ask anything of anyone. But Golden says it’s hard to shake Herbig as a veteran because “you can bet the kid will ask you questions” both on the field and in the film room. That’s the right mentality for someone hoping to impact his rookie season significantly.
Herbig now has to translate it into the regular season. Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin already promised that Herbig will find playing time in the regular season. It could only be for short spurts, but he will play. Herbig will embrace his special teams role as well. But if he pass rush ability continues to grow, the Steelers will have to play the impressive rookie.