UNITY TWP., Pa — The consistent performers at Steelers training camp stand out. Some of them are stars, like T.J. Watt. Then, there are the ascending players like George Pickens. Those guys get all the fanfare of sticking out and playing at a high level for most practices. But usually, it is not a rookie who comes right in off the bat and stands out. Certainly, it is rarely a fourth-round rookie.
But the truth of the matter is that now, it really is the fourth-round rookie. If you have been paying attention to training camp at all, the name Nick Herbig seems to be popping up more and more. The guy just wins and plays at a high level every day. At first, it was without pads where he proved he had legitimate pass rush chops. A new ghost move, aided by T.J. Watt teaching him that move, has unlocked an entirely new dangerous part of his repertoire.
But his polished pass-rushing skills seemingly play against anyone. Herbig and Broderick Jones are having plenty of battles on the Steelers training camp gauntlet. But they’re not the only ones. Herbig has won against Dan Moore Jr. and Chukwuma Okorafor. Truly, no tackle seems to be able to keep the rookie under wraps for long.
The crazy thing is there were questions about his run defense as an edge rusher. Herbig is only about 230 pounds and massively light for his size. But so far, he is sticking his nose in the mud and not just holding his own, but thriving. That makes Herbig entirely unique from an NFL perspective. He is passing every hurdle and has yet to have a down day just yet at Steelers training camp.
The latest complication is a hip flexor injury that Herbig sustained on Saturday. But the rookie has proven so far that he is not only going to stick at outside linebacker, but that he might have a legitimate role with the team. He can play special teams, but Herbig might be a guy who gets after the quarterback and could be a boon in that regard. The only thing left to prove is his aptitude in a game setting. But so far, he is one of the true winners of training camp.