Nick Herbig Could Be Steelers Next Star

The Pittsburgh Steelers could have a breakout star in Nick Herbig.
Oct 22, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Nick Herbig (51) reacts after sacking Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) during the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 22, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Nick Herbig (51) reacts after sacking Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) during the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers second-year linebacker Nick Herbig is making noise during the teams offseason programs. Working in Organized Team Activities and minicamp, the former fourth-round pick is showing his growth, and has caught the attention from his coaches.

The Steelers motto is that players should take a significant step forward in their second year compared to their first. Despite being in helmets and shorts, with minimal contact during OTAs and minicamp, defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said he's already seen the signs from Herbig that that leap is coming.

"It's not so much in the rush and how he's rushing but I think it's his approch to the game and what he knows," Austin told Steelers On Sports Illustrated. "It's always a little different, you get used to NFL football your first year. Your second, you get a jump because you kind of understand the game. And that's what I see with him. He understands what's going on around him, it's not just 'hey, what's my position?' He can understand and he has a good feel for the game."

Herbig, 22, played in all 17 games as a rookie, recording three sacks, two forced fumbles and 27 tackles. He worked behind T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith, and was primarily the fourth outside linebacker on the depth chart behind Markus Golden.

This year, things should be different. Without Golden on the roster, Herbig looks to be the primary backup, and the expectations from what he's shown so far are high.

"I'm excited about Nick, and I think, when you look at what he did last year and the limited amount of reps he played, his impact was pretty good," Austin said. "If he was playing more snaps this year, it wouldn't surprise me, and I wouldn't be like 'Oh, we got to get the other guys back in.' I would be trustful of what he's going to do when he's in the game."

Herbig is a member of a 2023 draft class that could have several players making impacts this season. Joey Porter Jr., Keeanu Benton and Broderick Jones are all expected to start in 2024. Cory Trice Jr., Darius Rush, Spencer Anderson and Darnell Washington are all looking at roles as well, with growth from their rookie year ahead.

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Noah Strackbein

NOAH STRACKBEIN

Noah is the Publisher for All Steelers, Inside the Panthers (InsideThePanthers.com) and Inside the Penguins (InsidethePenguins.com), and is the host of All Steelers Talk (YouTube.com/AllSteelersTalk). A Scranton native, Noah made his way to the Pittsburgh sports scene in 2017. Now, he's pretty much full-yinzer.