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Will former Badgers OLB Nick Herbig have a new role with Pittsburgh?

Nick Herbig, drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers, may have a new role in the NFL.

Syndication: Journal Sentinel Dan Powers / USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin / USA TODAY NETWORK

Former Wisconsin Badgers outside linebacker Nick Herbig got the call from the Pittsburgh Steelers that they were selecting him in the 4th round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Herbig gets to reunite with his teammate Keeanu Benton, who was also drafted by the Steelers. Not only does he reunite with Benton, but they also both get to play with one of the best Wisconsin Badgers to play the game: T.J. Watt.

I think his favorite teammate will be the offensive guard named Nate Herbig, who, of course, is his brother.

The biggest question for me is: does Nick Herbig continue to play the outside linebacker role in the 3-4 system?

He started as an outside linebacker for the Badgers in the 3-4 system, but he was already a smaller outside linebacker in college.

He stands 6’2, weighing in at 240 pounds (weighed around 227 at Wisconsin), with shorter arms 31 and 14 inch arms. He relies on his athleticism to get after the quarterback.

You may be looking at these measurables and going, “Oh man we just drafted a player that won't work out.” Well, that's not the case.

He has a very good 10-yard split of 1.59, which is blazing coming off the edge.

His weight and arm length and 10-yard split are similar to Micah Parsons. Now, Parsons is in a league of his own with the best players in the NFL. I’m not comparing them as players by any means. I am just comparing the measurables.

Herbig currently is a good athlete that must win on the edge as a speed rusher unless he adds weight and strength. He was able to win like this in college and was productive with 21 sacks over 3 seasons, with 20 coming in his final two years.

The size makes me question: will he become an off-the-ball linebacker?

He has the instincts and athleticism to play off-ball linebacker. He could be used as a stack linebacker over the DTs and used more as the blitzing backer.

I really don't see him being much of a factor as an outside linebacker with his shorter arms and below-average play strength.

If he played stronger, I would think it could work, but he may have to change positions at the NFL level in order to succeed. I could be wrong, but the player on tape doesn't scream outside linebacker in the NFL.

Omar Khan, the Steelers' General Manager, believes Herbig can play both inside and outside, which should bode well for Herbig. If he doesn't succeed outside, he can just move inside and work his way into the rotation.