The 2023 NFL Draft linebacker class is full of premier defensive talent, and one of the players expected to hear his name called relatively early is Wisconsin Badger LB Nick Herbig. While most of the conversation has been focused on the top names in the class, what does Herbig’s scouting report suggest about his NFL draft stock?
Nick Herbig NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Linebacker
- School: Wisconson
- Year: Junior
A consensus four-star recruit from Kauai, Hawaii, Herbig was apparently sick of perfect weather and picturesque beaches when he committed to Wisconsin in June 2019. He was the No. 9 outside linebacker and No. 2 overall player from Hawai’i for his class while coming in 143rd in the nation.
Herbig wasted no time finding the field, making seven starts at outside linebacker during his freshman year, totaling 26 tackles, including six tackles for loss, one sack, and a forced fumble. Yet, 2021 and 2022 saw Herbig take his game to another level.
As a junior, he led the Badgers and ranked fourth in the Big Ten with nine sacks and was seventh in the conference with 14.5 tackles for loss. Third on the team in tackles with 64, Herbig also had four pass breakups, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. This momentum carried into 2022 when Herbig was a preseason First-Team All-American.
Playing with power and quickness off the left and right sides of the defense, Herbig was as productive as it got. Starting 11 games, Herbig led the Wisconsin defense with 11 sacks, 15.5 tackles for loss, and 47 total tackles. Not only did his one sack per game lead the nation, but it was the most for a Badger since Tarek Saleh in 1996. Additionally, his 11 sacks were the most for the team since Zack Baun recorded 12.5 in 2019.
Due to his success, the awards piled in. Herbig was a consensus First-Team All-Big Ten selection, CBS Sports Second Team All-American, Walter Camp Second-Team All-American, and AP Third-Team All-American.
While he is somewhat undersized at 6’2″ and 241 pounds, Herbig knows what it takes to make it in the NFL as his brother, Nate, recently signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers, having played offensive line for the Philadelphia Eagles after going on drafted in 2019. Fortunately for Nick, his scouting profile and draft projections suggest he won’t have to sit around long until his name is called during the 2023 NFL Draft.
Nick Herbig Scouting Report
Strengths: Hard-charging, pass-rushing linebacker, who’s made a tremendous number of plays behind the line of scrimmage the past two seasons. Athletic, breaks down well, and uses his hands to protect himself. Bends off the edge and can flatten then pursue from the back side.
Outstanding technician with his hands, keeps his feet moving, and fluidly gets to any area of the field. Focused on by opponents, displays a variety of moves, and knifes inside of blockers to penetrate the line of scrimmage. Quick, explosive, and stays with assignments. Displays footwork pedaling in reverse and gets depth on pass drops.
Weaknesses: Not a big-bodied defender and is easily disrupted by the initial block or controlled by a single opponent. Seems to do a lot of searching for the ball rather than instinctively locating the action. May not have much growth potential.
Overall: Herbig was a force on the college field, combing for 30 TFLs and 20 sacks the past two seasons. He’s athletic and offers the versatility to be used up the field or in space, but Herbig must improve his playing strength.
Nick Herbig Combine Measurements and Results
- Height: 6’2 1/8″
- Weight: 240
- Wingspan: 76″
- Arm Length: 31 1/4″
- Hand Size: 9 1/4″
- Bench Press: 25
- 40-Yard Dash: 4.65
Wisconson LB Nick Herbig Current Draft Projection
Productive edge rushers are among the most valuable players on an NFL roster. In an offensive-driven time like the NFL is currently in, getting consistent pressure on the quarterback off the edge is paramount. Not only can it masks inefficiencies in the secondary, but it can also lead to more opportunities for your offense to put points on the board.
While he is not currently in the upper tier of the position, Herbig is the No. 7 ranked outside linebacker on Tony Pauline’s Big Board. The No. 85 overall player, Herbig’s 3.73 grade gives him a draft projection in the third round.
Whether stuffing the run, getting after the passer, or even dropping back into a soft zone, Herbig might not fit the mold of a prototypical pass rusher but brings the versatility of someone who should be a staple on the roster.
Likely an immediate impact player on special teams, Herbig could quickly develop a role as a reserve linebacker and valuable pick based on what we read from his scouting profile and current draft projection.
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