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Former Wisconsin Football Player Balled Out During NFL Preseason

Can’t say I’m surprised.



Former Wisconsin football star outside linebacker Nick Herbig sacks Falcons QB.
Aug 24, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Nick Herbig (51) sacks Atlanta Falcons quarterback Logan Woodside (11) during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

In case you’ve been living under a rock, former Wisconsin football outside linebacker Nick Herbig just put a bow on an absolutely dominant NFL preseason campaign for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In three preseason games, the fourth-round pick registered 10 tackles, 6.0 pressures, 4 QB hits, 3.5 sacks, 3.0 TFLs, one forced fumble, and a pass deflection in 63 snaps. In short, he went absolutely nuclear.

According to Pro Football Focus, Herbig graded out with a team-high 92.5 ranking, which is considered elite by their grading system. Of the 63 snaps Herbig played, he was used as a pass-rusher on 44 of them and finished with an impressive 30.0% pass-rush win rate.

Anyone surprised Herbig balled out in the preseason clearly didn’t watch this man put on a show every Saturday during his career with Wisconsin.

Some Thoughts on Former Wisconsin Football Star Nick Herbig in the NFL

The biggest knock on Nick Herbig going into the draft was his size. Evaluators were unsure if his frame could support enough weight to maintain his explosiveness — thus pigeonholing him as a situational pass-rushing project.

But the Hawaii native put that narrative to bed when he showed up to the NFL combine standing at 6-foot-2, 240 pounds, and showed he could be a legitimate contributor for the Steelers from day one.

Herbig has already elevated himself to the second-team defense and will rotate in behind another Wisconsin football alum — T.J. Watt, who you may have heard of before. It’s hard to imagine a better situation for Herbig than playing behind the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year and learning from the league’s most dangerous pass-rusher.

Evaluating players is an imperfect science, but Nick Herbig slipping to pick No. 132 in the fourth round is still absurd to me. I’d bet the farm that there won’t be 131 better players from this class than the former Badgers football EDGE rusher.

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Dillon Graff is a Substack newsletter best-selling author, publisher of AllBadgers, and the owner of, your go-to source for in-depth coverage of the Wisconsin Badgers. His work has been featured in top media publications like USA Today's BadgersWire, Athlon Sports, Bleacher Report, Verbal Commits, Bucky's 5th Quarter, and FanSided.