The Steelers met for training camp this week and have wrapped up the first few practices. A name that stood out on most reports was Nick Herbig. The rookie fourth-round pick is getting his start as an edge rusher despite lacking ideal size. He has made a quick impact, constantly being displayed as one of the earlier winners of camp.
While playing with the second-string defense, Herbig has mostly faced veteran tackle Le’Raven Clark. Brought in as tackle insurance this year, Clark has the size and length this offense is seemingly building itself around at the tackle spot.
Seeing Herbig succeed right so early is better than not, but I don’t want to put all of my eggs in his basket yet as an edge rusher. The early success is good, but I don’t anticipate it lasting. I still believe Herbig won’t make the cut as a traditional edge rusher.
Steelers are easing Herbig in
While Clark is certainly an experienced player, he isn’t exactly a great one. Despite being a third-round pick, he has never been able to be much more than a swing tackle, and his recent tape has been less than inspiring. He is a player who looks the part but hasn’t been able to put it all together as a professional.
I don’t doubt that Herbig can rush the passer. He has a wide array of moves that can beat tackles. The issue is his size and length, as he is extremely small to be a conventional edge rusher. Even if he added weight, his arm length makes his odds of becoming a steady presence off the edge not likely.
Herbig is also in game shape. Not that Clark isn’t, but he has had the entire offseason to rest and recover. Herbig, meanwhile, went from the college season, to draft prep, to the rookie minicamp. He and the rest of the rookie class should pop a little more until everyone is up to speed.
Had Herbig been showing up as he did against any of the top three tackles, this would be an actual story. That said, I am happy that Herbig has gotten the best of Clark. Still, he has a lot to prove if he wants to be a true edge rusher for this team.