Draft superlatives for Steelers extremely impressive 2023 class

Wisconsin defensive lineman Keeanu Benton (DL01)
Wisconsin defensive lineman Keeanu Benton (DL01) / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Steelers most likely to fail: LB Nick Herbig

With the dust of the draft having settled, my least favorite pick has become Nick Herbig. That alone is a testament to the strength of this class, as Herbig seems like a safe bet to be, at least, an impact special teams’ player, but I’m not confident in his ability to translate that skill onto the defense.

The Steelers seem content at starting Herbig out as an edge, given the fact that he played there while at Wisconsin to good success. He is a fine technician as a pass rusher, but he lacks the size you want in a pass rusher. Specifically, his length is concerning, as he has extremely short arms and struggled to make an impact when faced off against tackles with longer arms.

I believe that Herbig can become a competent off-ball linebacker, and that would be great value in the fourth round. Starting him off as an edge rusher will delay that transition though, and it could set Herbig back as a defensive player.

If Pittsburgh said they were planning on using Herbig as an off-ball linebacker right away, I would be all for it. The team seemingly wants to keep him at edge initially, and I think that could lead to him being a below-average defensive player for a while. Unless the focus is shifting his position, I find the Herbig pick the hardest one to get behind.