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Steelers Rookie LB Earns Exciting Distinction from PFF



Steelers Nick Herbig

Nick Herbig put together a fantastic preseason for the Steelers. The fourth-round rookie showed off his pass rush chops, racking up 3.5 sacks over three games. His sack rate ended up at 8% for the preseason, which seems unsustainable until you watch the tape and see how clean his wins were the entire preseason.

Pro Football Focus is buying the hype around Herbig, too. It’s partly because the Steelers developed one undersized pass rusher already in Alex Highsmith, but more so because Herbig’s stats are bonkers. PFF revealed that so far in the preseason, with a 27.3% win rate among edge rushers, Herbig leads the entire NFL during the preseason, an impressive distinction for a fourth-round pick.

“It’s only 63 preseason snaps, but Herbig has put up a 92.9 overall grade, an 83.8 run-defense grade and a 90.8 pass-rushing grade,” PFF wrote. “In the run game, he has three defensive stops and a tackle for loss to go along with zero downgrades in our system, and he’s recorded a 27.3% win rate as a pass-rusher, the best mark at his position so far this preseason. He’s already racked up four sacks to go along with three hurries and seven other wins that didn’t result in pressure.”

Herbig has checked all the boxes from tape to metrics for the Steelers. The athletic traits Herbig brings to the table show why he has played at high level this preseason.  Elite-level bend and explosiveness create a great starting point for any pass rusher, and Herbig has those two traits in spades. His ability to run such a tight arc is perhaps his most shocking trait right out of the gate. From an athletic standpoint, Herbig’s pass-rush chops translate and dominate out there on the field.

Herbig still needs to show that he can do it in the regular season, but he proved starting tackles will deal with him as a problem when he dominated his matchup against Bills starting left tackle Dion Dawkins. The traits show that Herbig could a productive subpackage rusher for the Steelers in his first season.

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