Steelers News

Nick Herbig ‘100%’ Believes He Can Add Weight; Steelers Not So Sure They Want Him To

The outside linebacker position was arguably the Pittsburgh Steelers’ biggest area of need heading into the final day of the 2023 NFL Draft. They had already addressed offensive tackle, cornerback, defensive line, and tight end in the first two days, so there was, I think, a lot of rooting interest to hear the name of an edge called yesterday in the fourth round.

The Steelers did get their edge guy, though some question whether or not he’s going to be able to stay on the edge at his size. They drafted Nick Herbig out of Wisconsin, who comes in smaller than their typical profile for their position. But they do think he can get bigger—if they want him to.

“Oh, 100 percent, 100 percent. I’m going to do whatever they need me to do”, Herbig told reporters after the draft, via transcript provided by the team’s media department, when asked if he would be able to add 10 or so pounds to his frame.

Listed at 6’2”, 240 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine, he is neither the ideal height nor weight for Steelers edge rushers, the prototype of which is closer to 6’4”, 260 pounds. He also has a somewhat leaner frame, in contrast to a guy like Nolan Smith, with whom it’s more obvious that he could add functional weight. But Denzel Martin, his new position coach, is in no rush to have that discussion.

We’ll have to get with [Garrett Giemont]. That’s one of those things where if that’s what they want to do”, he said, via the team’s website, when the subject was broached about him possibly adding weight.

“I think we like him [where he is]. 240’s good”, he added, seeming to speak as much for himself as for the team. “Obviously, he can gain some weight, but we’ll get him with Gie on that. That’s a little above me, but I like him right now at his 240 weight, to be honest with you”.

Martin is in his first year as the Steelers outside linebackers coach after receiving a promotion from a more generalized defensive assistant role for the past few years. This is his first prospect to get to mold from scratch.

Still, the conversation about his ultimate position—if he has one—is one that is worth having, because it’s not just going height and weight. You can succeed at 6’2”, 240 pounds. And they’ve drafted leaner edge rushers before, like Travis Feeney, who is 6’4”, but only weighed 230.

The difference is, though, he had 33 3/8” arms. Herbig has short arms at 31 1/4”. There’s not a question about his talent level but rather simply whether or not he will be able to excel at what it appears they will ask him to do, and whether he might not ultimately be better able to succeed in other roles.

Of course, they don’t necessarily have to give him a single, concrete, objective role. Perhaps he can move around and be more of a wild card. But the first step is finding a way to get on the field. Then you can see what works, what doesn’t, and start making adjustments.

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