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Promising Steelers OLB Nearly Switched Positions



Steelers OLB Nick herbig
Pittsburgh Steelers OLB Nick Herbig against the Baltimore Ravens on Oct. 8, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

When the Steelers drafted Nick Herbig, there were questions about where the explosive and exciting young outside linebacker would play. Many thought he would be off the ball due to his size, but the Steelers were one of the few teams that believed he could play on the edge, and it seems they are being proven right.

Joining the Arthur Moats Show, Herbig talked about his pre-draft process and the trepidation that came over him when the Steelers called to pick him in the fourth round. When he worked out at Wisconsin Pro Day, Aaron Curry, the Steelers’ inside linebackers coach, put him through the drills. So, when they called, he thought he would move off the ball. Instead, outside linebackers coach Denzel Martin got on the phone, and Herbig knew then he was an edge rusher.

“When I met with the Steelers at Pro Day, I met with Aaron Curry, the inside linebacker coach,” Herbig said. “I thought I was going to play inside linebacker. He worked me out and we did all the inside linebacker drills. But I got the call on draft day and Omar was like,’ Okay, here’s your position coach, Denzel Martin’. But I’m like, ‘Who’s that’? I answered the phone and Denzel was like, ‘Herb, you ready to rush the passer?'”

It helps for Herbig to have three veterans who have done it for a while in the NFL. He takes a little bit from T.J. Watt, Alex Higshmith, and Markus Golden. That gives the Steelers’ rookie a unique opportunity to build an already deep repertoire of pass rush moves out even more. But he will tell you the saying he uses to motivate himself.

“Dynamite comes in small packages,” Herbig said. “I know the player I am. None of that matters to me.”

With his mentors and some explosive traits, the Steelers are going to keep Herbig working at outside linebacker. He is already a top tier special teamer. Meanwhile, it seems like Herbig could really end up being something as his career progresses.