The Wisconsin Badgers are known for producing some excellent NFL players, especially on defense. 2021 NFL Defensive Player of the Year TJ Watt was a product of Wisconsin. So too was his brother, future Hall of Famer JJ Watt. Former Wisconsin Badgers linebackers Leo Chenal and TJ Edwards faced each other in the Super Bowl. For a football program that has historically been linked to big offensive linemen and dynamic running backs, Wisconsin sure has turned out some great linebackers. According to PFF, this trend will continue with Nick Herbig.
Wisconsin Badgers Linebacker Nick Herbig Named a 2023 NFL Draft Sleeper
Michael Renner of PFF identified nine 2023 NFL Draft prospects that he believes are sleepers. The first one he identified was Nick Herbig, the Badgers’ stout linebacker from last season. Of Herbig, Renner wrote:
“Herbig likely isn’t getting buzz at the moment because he was an on-ball linebacker for Wisconsin who will have to play off-ball in the NFL because of his size (6-foot-2, 227 pounds). That’s obviously always going to add an extra layer of uncertainty. Having seen Herbig take on blocks and play in space, however, I’m convinced that he can make the transition with ease.
“He boasts some of the best range and change-of-direction ability in the entire draft class. On his very few snaps dropping into coverage this past season (95), Herbig showed an understanding of how route concepts developed. In fact, on those limited coverage snaps, Herbig broke up more passes (three) than Clemson linebacker Trenton Simpson did for his entire career.”
Interestingly, Herbig’s former teammate, the aforementioned Leo Chenal, was not drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs until the third round. He ended up as PFF’s top-graded rookie linebacker. It sounds like Herbig could be following in his footsteps next season.
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