2023 NFL Draft

2023 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Wisconsin EDGE Nick Herbig

From now until the 2023 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents. Today, I will be profiling Wisconsin linebacker Nick Herbig.

#19 Nick Herbig, LB, Wisconsin (JR) — 6021, 240 lbs.

Combine/Pro Day


Player Ht/Wt Hand Size Arm Length Wingspan
Nick Herbig 6’2 1/8”/240 9 1/4 31 1/4 N/A
40-Yard Dash 10-Yard Dash Short Shuttle 3-Cone
4.65 1.59 N/A N/A
Broad Jump Vertical Bench Press

The Good

— Good production behind the line of scrimmage (sacks/TFL)
— High motor, great effort from play to play
— Good snap quickness and upfield burst
— Solid hand usage with chops and swipes
— Slippery around the edge and with counters/spins inside
— Assignment sound against the run
— Good backside chase
— Drives through tackles with his legs
— Solid mobility in Zone coverage situations

The Bad

— Undersized playing in college at under 230 lbs.
— Arm length is marginal
— Power rush success is limited
— Limited pass coverage snaps and primarily only in Zone
— Inconsistent ability to stack and shed blocks
— Overall play strength is adequate
— In space needs to come to balance for more consistent tackles


— 2022: 47 tackles, 32 solo, 15.5 TFL, 11 sacks, 2 PBU, 2 FF
— Career:134 tackles, 95 solo, 36 TFL, 21 sacks, 7 PBU, 2 FR, 4 FF
— 31 games, 31 starts
— 2022 First team All-Big Ten
— Second Team All-American (CBS, Walter Camp, AFCA)
— 2021 Academic All Big-Ten
— 4-star recruit out of high school
— Brother Nate is a guard with the New York Jets
— Birthday 11/22/21 (age 21)

Tape Breakdown

Nick Herbig is an undersized EDGE rusher from the Big Ten. He has aligned on the left and right sides of the defensive formation and has experience dropping into Zone coverage.

Against the pass, he was a productive pass rusher. At the snap, he has a good upfield burst, with good ankle flexion and solid bend around the corner. He is solid with his hands using chops and slaps to get the tackle’s hands down. Combining his hands with rips and spins are part of his pass rush plan. When power rushing he has good hand placement on his bull rush and can occasionally get under the blocker’s pads on speed to bull rush. He displays solid quickness as the looper on T-E stunts to get inside quickly.

Vs Washington State, Herbig (19) will chop the right tackle’s hands to get him off balance and shows nice bend around the edge.

At Iowa, he had a big day. Here are two of his sacks. The first on a speed-to-bull where the RT got very deep, and he took advantage. The second sack is another chop and bend around the edge.

He was also asked to drop into Zone coverage and looked comfortable doing so. His focus was on the quarterback while getting into his drop and he displayed good mobility in space moving with the quarterback’s eyes to get into passing lanes.

Here are a couple examples of him dropping into coverage and getting in passing lanes.

As a run defender, he was solid setting the edge on the front side. He was able to solidly hold his ground and force the play back inside. Reading the pulling blockers, he is willing to take on blocks to collapse running lanes. On the backside of plays, he showed solid lateral agility to slide down the line to close cut-back lanes and good acceleration to chase from behind. He displayed solid quickness to shoot the C gap inside tight ends. When given the chance he tried to drive through tackles with good leg drive and will attempt to punch out the ball where he can.

At Washington State, from the left edge he will read the play, show good change of direction and chase down the running back to the outside.

A couple of samples of his leg drive on tackles.

While he measured at 240 lbs. at the Combine, he was listed at 228 lbs. in his junior season. Is that a true addition of weight or is that from drinking water before the weigh-in? His arm length will not hold up against tackles with 34-inch arms. His play strength is marginal and tight ends were able to pass protect against him. He isn’t going to be consistently successful with power rushes. In coverage situations, he was not used in Man coverage.

The effort and core strength are impressive but being able to move bigger tackles is a tough task for him.

He was adequate when trying to stack and shed to get off blocks. There was some improvement later in the season but needs to be more consistent. In space, he needs to come to balance and improve his aiming point when making tackles. Play strength is adequate when handling blockers.

Tackling in space had some misses.


Herbig was a productive pass rusher in college. He has good snap quickness and upfield burst and can be slippery around the edge or as the looper on stunts. While he doesn’t have a lot of experience in coverage, he showed good mobility in Zone coverage to get into passing lanes. He has a high motor and will drive through ball carriers with good leg drive when he can.

Areas to improve include adding play strength as well and becoming more consistent when shedding blocks. Working on improving his coverage ability and his technique while tackling in space will make him more versatile.

By NFL standards he doesn’t fit as a prototypical pass rusher. He is underweight even at 240 but more troubling is his arm length when facing tackles. His best option would be to make a switch to an off-the-ball linebacker but that is no guarantee either. He seems like a player that will put in the work where he needs to become a better player.

The Steelers need immediate help at the inside linebacker position so Herbig can’t help there. But for them or another team he could immediately be a core special team player as well as be a reserve at inside and/or outside linebacker. The player comp that came to mind was another Big Ten undersized pass rusher in Carter Coughlin. He was of similar size with length issues who is now a reserve inside linebacker and special team player.

Projection: Mid-Day Three

Depot Draft Grade:  6.4 Backup /Special Teamer (6th Round)

Games Watched: 2022 – Vs Washington State, At Ohio State, At Michigan State, At Iowa, At Nebraska, Vs Minnesota

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