Nick Herbig boasts NFL bloodlines, elite college production, and intangibles that teams covet at the next level. How early should the Wisconsin pass rusher be taken in the 2023 NFL Draft?
Name: Nick Herbig
Position: Outside Linebacker
Weight: 230 pounds
Nick Herbig 2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report
Nick Herbig grew up in Hawaii and starred for the Saint Louis High School football team, located just outside of Honolulu. He also played basketball for the school, but after earning four stars as a football recruit, Herbig turned his attention solely to the gridiron.
Herbig earned a spot in the 2020 Polynesian Bowl following a successful high school career. He parlayed this into a full-ride scholarship from the Wisconsin Badgers, joining his brother Nate as the second D1 athlete in the family.
Herbig started immediately as a true freshman, but 2021 is when he became a superstar in Madison. He ranked first on the team with 26 QB hurries and finished second with nine sacks. Herbig owned the highest pass-rush win rate in the country (27.3%) via PFF, highlighting how unblockable the Wisconsin pass rusher is.
In 2022, Herbig continued terrorizing opposing quarterbacks. He led the Badgers in tackles for loss (15.5) and sacks (11) en route to a consensus All-Big Ten first-team selection. After 31 career starts with Wisconsin, Herbig heads to the 2023 NFL Draft with considerable hype.
With tons of starting experience and some of the best production of anyone in the class, how early can Nick Herbig go in the 2023 NFL Draft? This detailed scouting report has an answer!
•Complete Pass Rusher – Nick Herbig has no shortage of pass-rushing moves at his disposal. Whether it be a speed rush around the edge or an awe-inspiring swim move… opposing linemen have a long day ahead of them when they draw Herbig as an assignment.
•Unblockable – Simply put, Herbig is impossible to block one-on-one. As a pass rusher, the Wisconsin defender takes advantage of a quick first step and boasts impeccable hand usage in pursuit of the quarterback/ball carrier. He is too savvy to be left on an island.
•High Motor – Smaller pass rushers can be susceptible to running out of gas by the end of the game, but Herbig’s ticker never stops ticking. He plays like a man on fire and regularly chases down tackles through the whistle. Herbig is relentless.
•Still Ascending Pass Coverage – Herbig still needs work and more experience as a coverage defender, but he possesses the traits necessary to be a difference-maker in this area. His high football IQ and knack for diagnosing the play pre-snap gives Herbig a leg up when dropping back in coverage.
•Experience/Production – With 31 starts and 21 career sacks, few in the 2023 NFL Draft class can match the production of Nick Herbig. Teams love a player with a proven track record and tape to back it up. Herbig may not check every box physically, but his intangibles make up for it.
•Size; Tweener – Unfortunately for Herbig, the physical aspect is a crucial part of the draft process. He will be labeled as undersized, standing near 6-foot-2, and weighing in at 230 pounds (via Wisconsin site). Neither number will inspire confidence in a coaching staff, and the questions surrounding Herbig’s long-term outlook as an edge defender will continue.
•Run Defense – As stated, Herbig is a willing tackler and never gives up on a play. However, due to his size, he can get lost in the shuffle when attacking interior gaps. Herbig gets swallowed up by bigger offensive linemen, taking him out of the play and allowing for a massive gain by the running back. To stick in the NFL, he must provide at least serviceable play as a run defender.
•Quicker Than He is Fast – Herbig shows adequate short-area agility, but his top-end athleticism brings questions. Covering NFL running backs out of the backfield could give Herbig fits, as he will have trouble staying stride-for-stride with faster players. Another aspect of his game that needs refinement if he wants to be an every-down edge defender.
2023 NFL Draft Grade
•Mid-Day Two (Top 50 on my Big Board)
Nick Herbig brings top-tier production, droves of experience, and some impressive intangibles to the 2023 NFL Draft. His ability to stuff the run and cover assignments downfield will make or break his career. Herbig is worth betting on when day two rolls around, as I have the Wisconsin pass rusher graded as a top 50 player on my Big Board. The potential for superstardom exists if Herbig lands with a play caller willing to build around his strengths.
Games Evaluated: 10