By Andrew Malkasian
Overview of Loudermilk
Isaiahh Loudermilk almost seems like a fake name a dismissive Hollywood script writer would give a Wisconsin dairyman in some hackneyed hallmark movie. But in fact, Loudermilk, while not a dairyman, is in fact one of the newest steelers. His selection was a bit of a shock to some considering the steelers traded a 2021 fourth-rounder for the opportunity to pick him, but he does seem to fit into the mold the Steelers brass particularly like out of mid-round players. Kevin Colbert said they would have selected him in fourth round if possible; therefore, with the Steelers moving up into the fifth round says something about his promise. That’s not to say the Steelers are getting a polished player ready to make a serious impact, the reality is quite the opposite. Despite the fact that he played a lot of football at Wisconsin, he’s going to need to solidify his skillset to become a regular starter or rotation guy on the front line. But lest we forget the Steelers have helped a lot of mid-round guys become solid contributors in ways in which the draft “experts” wouldn’t have anticipated.
Strengths of Loudermilk
The dude looks like Cam Heyward’s brother, so my immediate assumption is he’ll be just as good. Granted, this optimism is only grounded in hope and illusion, but that doesn’t mean Loudermilk is a serious gamble either. His size and work ethic are NFL caliber and something NFL coaches cannot provide despite their best efforts. He’s also supremely athletic with a background in a variety of sports. Additionally, he was a vital part of Wisconsin’s 3-4 scheme over the last few years which can only be a positive attribute as he enters the Steelers depth chart.
Areas of Growth for Loudermilk
Perhaps Loudermilk’s size has provided him cover in recent years, but the NFL will certainly expose any flaws to his game. As of now, he needs to improve his physicality and demeanor at the line. Size alone won’t win him any battles but combined with an increased in technique and urgency there’s no telling what he’ll be able to do. While his length and size provide him leverage on run plays, he needs to increase his skillset on passing downs. He’s too big to allow the offensive line keep him at bay.
How Does Loudermilk Fit Into the Steelers Depth Chart?
As of right now, Loudermilk is clearly going to line-up behind Chris Wormley, Isaiah Buggs, and Carlos Davis and provide necessary depth along the defensive front. That may change as he progresses and proves to the Steelers coaches that he can be a regular rotation guy.
What Will Loudermilk Contribute in Year One?
This will be determined in camp. The Steelers are clearly pretty high on him despite the naysays and regularly pessimistic steelers fans. But I could certainly see Loudermilk playing himself into a specific role next year. No, he won’t be a starter but his size and continuous growth project into a level of promise that could flourish at any time. He will undoubtedly be a special teams regular where he can certainly make a name for himself if not among the fans, then among the coaches.
Steelers Comparable Player
This is hard; I certainly don’t want to say he stands alone, but perhaps he stands along on the defense. His size and raw athleticism remind me a bit of Zach Banner, but the difference in position is an important factor. I think the key difference is that the potential upside may be higher for Loudermilk than with Banner, but I think you get my comparison here.
Yay, Nay, or OK?
The doomsaying Steelers fans across the country don’t and can’t understand this pick. One writer who say remain nameless blasted the trade and the pick all while acknowledging the Steelers probably know more than him! Probably? You’re an idiot! They do know more than you, more than me, and more than the sideline critic. The upside is huge – pun intended – and the downside is a selection lost next year. Oh well. Get over it! Great pick because, why not? If the Steelers see something here, then I’m all for it. Here’s some other guys they saw something in: Antonio Brown, Willie Parker, Brett Keisel, Javon Hargrave, and the list goes on and on.