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2023 NFL Draft

Steelers Plan to Use Nick Herbig as Outside Linebacker



Steelers 2023 NFL Draft OLB Nick Herbig

The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to use fourth-round draft pick Nick Herbig as an outside linebacker, at least to start, outside linebackers coach Denzel Martin said on Saturday.

Herbig played outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme at Wisconsin that is very similar to the Steelers’ base defense, and so he will continue in essentially the same role as a pro, at least to start.

“Right now, he’s going to start at outside linebacker,” Martin said.

“I’m just thinking they want me to come in and be a dog and that’s what I do,” Herbig said. “You know, so whatever they want me to do. I’m gonna do it.”

Herbig was listed by many in the pre-draft process as an off-ball linebacker, citing his below-average height and arm length for an edge rusher. According to RAS Relative Athletic Score, Herbig profiles more like an inside linebacker. He had a 7.75 RAS as an edge rusher and an 8.07 RAS as an inside linebacker on a 10-point scale.

Martin said the team could see him adding a few pounds to his current 240-pound mark.

The familiarity could help Herbig hit the ground running as a rookie, where the Steelers could use him as an immediate contributor. The team let No. 3 outside linebacker Malik Reed leave via free agency and released No. 4 man Jamir Jones earlier this offseason.

They did bring 2021 sixth-round pick Quincy Roche back after he spent two seasons with the New York Giants. He and Herbig are currently the top backup options on the depth chart.

The Steelers also used 2022 third-round pick DeMarvin Leal as an edge rusher last season, though head coach Mike Tomlin said last week that his future position is still up in the air between edge rusher and interior defensive line.

RELATED: Steelers Draft Profile: Wisconsin LB Nick Herbig Looking to Follow Mentor T.J. Watt