As we close out the “NFL Christmas” that is the NFL Draft, we are taking a look at some selected players SteelerNation may have not heard about going into the draft. Next up…
Isaiahh Loudermilk (DE), University of Wisconsin, Redshirt Senior
SELECTED: 5th Round, 156th Overall
I think I speak for most of Steeler Nation when I say I was surprised to see the Steelers trade with the Miami Dolphins for a fifth-round pick to use on a defensive lineman. Especially with the returns of Tyson Alualu and Chris Wormley, it appeared as though the rotation along the defensive line was set for the 2021 season. However, with those contracts expiring in the next two years, along with those of Henry Mondeaux and Isaiah Buggs, it is no wonder the Steelers wanted depth at defensive line to develop into a game-wrecker. Enter Isaiahh Loudermilk from Madison, Wisconsin.
Loudermilk is extremely aggressive off the line. He is a relentless force and can shed off blockers to get into the backfield. He has strong hands and is explosive off the ball. Loudermilk is an effective run stopper and has a great eye for the ball. He is able to play in multiple different schemes and gaps. Defensive line coach Karl Dunbar explained earlier this month that Loudermilk will play anywhere from the edge to a nose tackle. Dunbar went on to explain that Loudermilk brings the right skillset to develop into an elite defensive player in Pittsburgh and is excited to see what he can bring to the locker room.
Loudermilk seems to lack in pass rushing. He tends to play with heavy feet and has trouble breaking through guards to get to the quarterback. This will lead to him playing more on running plays and goal line sets than every down. Loudermilk also does not play effectively at pad level and seems to fall out of the play if his first burst doesn’t work. In addition, although he has great hands, he looks to rely on his effort over skills to break through the line. This led him to not being able to play consistently on every down in college. It will definitely take a couple of seasons until Loudermilk sees consistent playing time on defense in the NFL.
There is no denying Loudermilk was drafted as a project for Coach Dunbar. But with that said, the Steelers can afford to be patient with him, seeing as though they are going into training camp with a crowded defensive line room. In his press conference earlier this month, Coach Dunbar simply stated, “…defensive linemen are like pretty women; there’s not a lot of them but everyone wants them. And when you find a big man like that, that is what you want to do.” At 6’7” and weighing over 275 pounds, it looks like head coach Mike Tomlin and General Manager Kevin Colbert were not going to let him go. Therefore, even though I was not a fan of this selection in the moment, there was clearly more intel that went into this trade than we think. I’m looking for Loudermilk to wear that #92 proudly, channel his inner-James Harrison, and grow into the defensive force for the Steelers enjoy in future seasons.
How do you think the Steelers did at the 156th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft? Let us know in the comments below!