Pittsburgh Steelers OG Nate Herbig is a delightful bundle of joy
I haven't found many people who aren't happy with the Nate Herbig signing, and I get it. Though I was already somewhat familiar with Herbig during his time starting on the Eagles and Jets, a quick dive into his film told me everything I need to know.
When it comes to road graders with nasty demeanors, you won't find many more NFL guards who fit the description better -- hence the nickname "Nasty" Nate. Personally, I prefer Nate "He Big."
At nearly 6'4'' and 335 pounds, Herbig is a bulldozer on the offensive line. His outstanding core strength gives him phenomenal anchoring ability in the passing game, but he lives to run people over when his offense runs the football. His likable traits don't end there.
Herbig is a charismatic bundle of joy. Here's a cutup from the Pittsburgh Steelers Twitter account from his first press conference with his new team:
Herbig always seems to have a smile on his face. With a bubbly personality and the relentless effort he displays each week on the field, it's no wonder Jets and Eagles fans speak very highly of him. But what is the plan for Herbig this year, and how does he fit into the Steelers offense?
Herbig seems likely to start at left guard for Steelers
It's incredibly early in the process, so we don't know anything for sure at this point. It's hard to tell what his role will be based on the contract he signed as well. Herbig will make an average of just $4 million per year over the next two seasons (though his cap hit for 2023 just $2.9 million). This could either be considered quality backup money or low-end starter money.
However, if we look at a few other samples, it's reasonable to think that Herbig will earn a starting role this year -- most likely as the left guard for the Steelers.
On an offensive line that can be very shaky at times, it's not always easy to pinpoint the biggest weakness. Personally, I believe that title goes to Dan Moore (which is probably why the Steelers seem interested in tackles early in the NFL Draft). However, among the interior OL spots, Kevin Dotson is the least consistent.
Though Dotson can be excellent at times, he is incredibly high-variance as mental lapses and inconsistent footwork often get the best of him. These aren't things you want to struggle with at age 26 with 30 starts your belt.
While Nate Herbig was drafted the year before Dotson, he's actually nearly two full years younger and will be 24 years old until July. Though Herbig did earn a worse overall grade than Dotson via Pro Football Focus this past season, ESPN Analytics credited Herbig with the sixth-best run block win rate among all NFL guards.
Because of his limited athletic traits and lack of elite foot quickness, Herbig will probably never be a great pass protector in the NFL, but there's a lot of value in having a massive 335-pounder eating up space on the offensive line. In many ways, he resembles former Steelers OG, Ramon Foster.
Based on the film that I've watched, I would expect Nate Herbig to earn a starting job with the Steelers out of training camp -- barring a big leap from Kevin Dotson