Grading the Steelers 2023 class: Strong results across the board

Fans should be pleased with the one-year sample from Pittsburgh's 2023 rookie class.

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Broderick Jones
Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Broderick Jones / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Steelers grade for Nick Herbig

Grade: A+

I will be the first to admit I was completely wrong on the Nick Herbig pick. He was my least favorite selection from this class. It wasn’t due to his skill level or tape, but his size. He was extremely small as an edge rusher, and I fully expected him to have to move to off-ball linebacker to have any shot at succeeding.

He showed early in his Steelers career that those doubts may not have been overblown. Herbig was one of the earliest winners in training camp, as he was constantly beating opposing tackles daily in practice. That success continued into the preseason games, as he continued to shine on tape.

Despite a strong offseason, Herbig wasn’t a regular contributor on defense. He found his groove on special teams, but that was mostly expected as a fourth-round pick. Down the stretch, he did see the field on defense in a rotation at edge rusher. In total, he played 17 percent of the defensive snaps for this team.

He made the most of his opportunities, as he racked up three sacks in that limited playing time. His speed off the edge popped off on tape, and he has clearly been taking notes from the rest of the players in the room. That kind of production was shocking, to say the least.

I was completely wrong about Herbig, and that is for the betterment of this defense. He seems poised to continue to grow as a player, and I hope that he can ascend into the third edge rusher spot for this defense. For a fourth-round pick, that is a huge win for this team and this draft class.