Nick Herbig, EDGE/LB
School: Wisconsin | Conference: Big 10
College Experience: Junior | Age: 21(?)
Height / Weight: 6’2” / 240 lbs
Projected Draft Status: Rounds 4-5
Player Comp: Jerome Baker
As a freshman at Wisconsin, Herbig started seven games in 2020. During his sophomore year, he started all 13 games and was the Badgers’ top sack leader. He finished fourth overall in the Big 10 as well. Impressively, his PFF pass rush win rate was the highest ever by a UW pass rusher, even exceeding those of Joe Schobert and TJ Watt.
In 2022, as a junior, Herbig started all 11 games and again led Wisconsin in sacks (11) and TFLs (15.5). As a result, he was named first team All Big 10 and a second team All American.
As he transitions to the pros, because of his size, there is an expectation that he’s unlikely to be a full time EDGE rusher, and will instead end up as either a WILL or SAM linebacker.
- Has potential EDGE/OLB flexibility.
- Was effective in coverage when he was used there.
- As a pass rusher, already has a variety of moves.
- Likely to be an effective special teams contributor out of the gate.
- Athletic and quick.
- Some unclarity about what position he will play in the pros.
- Needs to add strength.
- Could use a year to develop in the pros if he’s going to play as an OLB.
Let’s See His Work
Nick Herbig is our 2023 edition of Badger defenders that we all collectively fall in love with but have no idea where they are going to go or what role they are going to fit. pic.twitter.com/3DmTyiWa3Y— Brett Kollmann (@BrettKollmann) January 24, 2023
At #190 we take Wisconsin Edge Rusher Nick Herbig. Learned a lot playing under Jim Leonhard and brings leadership along with some grit. Another OLB to help bolster an already strongly rebuilt unit. RAS 7.26 #Browns #NFLDraft— c nn r (@BernienChompz) March 26, 2023
How He Would Fit
In reading through Herbig’s profiles and watching his film, I can’t help but be reminded of Shaka Toney - the undersized college pass rusher with an athletic profile that foreshadowed a potentially successful transition of off-ball linebacker. Their size is nearly identical, and both are highly athletic when compared to other drafted linebackers.
In the two years Toney has been on the team, he’s been used almost exclusively as a special teamer, only playing 5% of defensive snaps in 2022. If Jack Del Rio doesn’t possess the creativity to deploy a “tweener” player like Herbig effectively, he’s probably not worth anything other than a late day 3 pick for Washington. But, if there’s a willingness - and a vision - to see how a player of Herbig’s athleticism and aggressiveness can turn up the effectiveness of a dynamic defense, the Badger could be a very interesting addition in the 4th or 5th round.
In what round would you draft Nick Herbig?
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