From now until the 2021 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.
#97 Isaiahh Loudermilk/iDL/Wisconsin — 6’6”, 274 lbs.
– Disruptive force when asked to shoot gaps, playing half-man with power to get into backfield
– Showcased good use of hands inside to play the run; able to stack and shed and find the football near the LOS
– Willing to take on doubles and tie up blockers to keep LBs free to roam behind him
– At his best playing a 3-tech or single-gap role in obvious run downs
– Smart overall player that understands his role and assignment
– High-effort, hot-motor player that will appease to coaches snap to snap
– Has great size but lacks length and struggles to create ample separation in the trenches
– Offers very little from a pass rush perspective; heavy feet, unrefined hand usage to stay clean and win
– Does not look like much of an athlete; lacks overall explosion in his lower body, slow off the football consistently
– Relies on effort more than skill to make plays behind the LOS
– Struggles with pad level and lets guys into his chest far too often
– Does not have the ability to counter and win when initial punch and steps don’t win
– Profiles primarily as early down run defender only
– Three year starter at Wisconsin that appeared in 40 games, starting 26
– Finished career at Wisconsin with 63 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, 9 pass deflections, 2 forced fumbles
– Earned four letters at Wisconsin
– Named Third Team All-Big Ten in 2020
– Competed in the East-West Shrine Bowl after missing Wisconsin bowl game with injury
– Played 8-man football in high school
A durable, experienced defensive lineman, Wisconsin’s Isaiahh Loudermilk brings some versatility to the defensive line, having experience at 5-tech, 3-tech, and 1-tech throughout his career in college.
At 6’6”, 284 pounds, Loudermilk is a bit undersized in terms of weight and has short arms, which gives him issues with leverage inside. He doesn’t bring much athletically, but makes up for it with effort, which should play well with coaches at the next level.
When he’s at his best, he’s able to play half-man and shoot gaps, unlocking his power to work through blocks and make plays along the line of scrimmage.
Here against Wisconsin, Loudermilk does a good job gaining ground with his initial first step, punching and locking out against the guard trying to reach and run on him. By winning with the first step and locking out, he’s able to gain control of the rep and make the play behind the line of scrimmage for the tackle for loss.
This is easily his best pass rush rep that I saw through two years of tape.
Against Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game, Loudermilk does a nice job getting off the ball quickly and gaining ground against the interior of the OSU offensive line, setting up the stunt.
He flashes a quick, efficient swim here to get over top of 6’6” OSU center Josh Myers, allowing him to blow by the left guard and sack Justin Fields for the big loss.
Not all of his pass rush reps are that pretty, as he doesn’t have the consistent juice in that area of his game.
Again, it will come down to effort with him. He’s a hot-motor, high-effort guy that will compete every rep, much like he did here against Michigan State in 2019.
He does a great job getting off the ball here and stunning the right guard, but after winning initially he stalls out. Fortunately for him, he’s able to keep fighting as the QB holds onto the ball eventually works into the sack.
This rep showed me he just doesn’t have the athleticism or agility to really do anything as a pass rusher in the NFL.
He chews up a ton of ground here off the snap and tries to work in the rip move, but he can’t turn the corner at all and gets run upfield out of the play. Hand fighting and counters just really aren’t part of his game as a pass rusher.
Where he could stay on the field on passing downs is with his size and tendency to bat down balls at the line of scrimmage.
Wisconsin tended to ask him to kind of hang out at the line of scrimmage and watch the QB’s eyes, allowing him to serve as an extra defender in coverage, batting down balls with his height and length.
That’s not a viable strategy for defensive coordinators in the NFL, but if he has to play on passing downs in the league for stretches, I think that’s how he could stay on the field and remain productive.
Overall, he’s challenged athletically and lacks the ideal length for his size to really flourish in the trenches, but there’s no questioning his heart and desire on every snap.
He should be able to move all over an odd-man front, providing some snaps in a limited role as a depth defender.
Games Watched: Michigan State (2019), Ohio State (2019), Minnesota (2019), Oregon (2019), Nebraska (2019), Northwestern (2020), Iowa (2020), Michigan (2020)