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Steelers Expecting Second-Year Jump from Nick Herbig

The Pittsburgh Steelers expect outside linebacker Nick Herbig to become an even better player with his second year jump coming.

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Pittsburgh Steelers Nick Herbig
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Nick Herbig at the team's mandatory minicamp, June 12, 2024 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers have not brought back Markus Golden yet this offseason, and that means that most of the responsibility behind T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith will fall to second-year standout Nick Herbig. While he only played so much, Herbig was excellent in his limited opportunities and virtually became a ball magnet at points last season.

So, in his second season, the Steelers expect big things from Herbig. His pass-rush plan will get better, but so will his natural processing. Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin believes that Herbig is due for a big season and that he is ready to take on more snaps and responsibilities within the defense.

Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Nick Herbig at the team’s mandatory minicamp, June 12, 2024 – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

“Yes. And it’s not so much in the rush and how he’s rushing but I think it’s his approach to the game and what he knows. You know, it’s always a little different. You get used to NFL football first year, second year, you get a jump because now you kind of understand the game. And that’s what I see with him. He understands what’s going on around and it’s not just hey, what’s my position. He can understand and he has a good feel for the game. And so, I’m excited about Nick and I think, you know, when you look at what he did last year, and the limited amount of reps he played, his impact was pretty good. And so, if he’s playing more this year, it wouldn’t surprise me and I wouldn’t be like, oh, we got toget the other guys back in. I would be trustful of what he’s going to do in the game,” Austin said.

Nick Herbig is one of the more fascinating players on the entire roster. He does not have traditional size, but his explosiveness and bend pop out right away. That has molded Herbig into a unique role as a hybrid special teams demon and a fearsome sub-package rusher.

However, as the third guy off the bench, Herbig will be asked to play more on all three downs. Outside linebackers coach Denzel Martin expects much of the same from Herbig. The leap seems to be coming from the Wisconsin product, and he looks to be in much better shape this year, too.

Expect this to be a big-time year for Herbig, and it could be a massive breakout campaign for a guy who made the most of his snaps right away in his rookie season.