3 Steelers players poised for bigger roles in the season's final stretch

More snaps could these three players could result in a boost down the stretch for the Steelers.

Steelers, Keeanu Benton
Steelers, Keeanu Benton / Joe Sargent/GettyImages
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2. Nick Herbig should spell Watt and Highsmith of more snaps

There's no question that, when healthy, T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith are one of the NFL's most lethal pass rush duos. While they don't flip sides or win at an elite rate, these players are known for their ability to get after the quarterback and create splash plays.

However, we have seen in recent weeks that Mike Tomlin has been running the wheels off two of his best players. Watt played arguably his worst game of the season against the Patriots in Week 14. This certainly could have had something to do with the fact that he re-entered the game when he should have been placed in concussion protocol. Highsmith exited the game for that very reason.

But even if these guys are healthy, the snap distribution at the edge defender position has been comically bad this year. These two players have among the highest snap percentages in the league among pass rushers and their bodies won't hold up at this rate. That's where Nick Herbig comes in.

Herbig has flashed in limited action this season but has only played between 4-12 snaps in every game from Week 4 to Week 13, per Pro Football Reference. He finally earned playing time with Highsmith sidelined in Week 14 and proceeded to record 7 tackles and 1 impressive TFL.

Herbig and backup Markus Golden have both shown they can handle more work at the Steelers need to let them do so for the sake of the team. Watt and Highsmith need to be healthy or Pittsburgh doesn't stand a chance to compete anyway.