Now that the 2021 offseason has begun, following yet another year of disappointment, a fourth consecutive season with no postseason victories, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we are seeing over the course of the offseason as it plays out. We will also be reviewing players based on their previous season and their prospects for the future.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: DE Isaiahh Loudermilk
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: Isaiahh Loudermilk earned some kind words from veteran defensive lineman Tyson Alualu based on what he has shown during the first week of OTAs.
Steelers fans weren’t quite sure what to make of the team trading into the fifth round earlier this month in order to grab another defensive lineman, but the coaches seemed to find it a bigger need than those on the outside, and they liked what they saw out of Isaiahh Loudermilk as the draftable defensive linemen for their system were falling off the board, so they made the move to pull the trigger.
Since being drafted, the rookie’s been on the field for six practices, three during rookie minicamp, and now the past three days comprising the first week of OTAs—something last year’s rookie class didn’t have a chance to experience due to the pandemic. With the veterans on site, Tyson Alualu offered some observations on the new man in his meeting room.
“I like what I see. You can see that he’s a very aggressive player and kind of to me, similar to, you know, Cam [Heyward] and [Chris] Wormley”, he told reporters. “He kind of has that combination. So, I think he’s in good hands kind of learning behind them, seeing how they practice, how they go through drills. But it’s looking good for him”.
Defensive coordinator Keith Butler also likened Loudermilk to a young Cameron Heyward when he spoke on the subject of the team’s defensive draft picks the weekend of the draft. Heyward, of course, was their first-round draft pick a decade ago, and is now heading into year 11 with a few All-Pro nominations to his name.
For as much as he may resemble a great player in his younger days, Loudermilk, plain and simply, still has to earn a roster spot. The Steelers have depth here; in addition to Heyward and Alualu, and Wormley, they have Stephon Tuitt, Carlos Davis, Isaiah Buggs, and Henry Mondeaux, all of whom were on the 53-man roster last year. Now they have eight linemen competing for what will likely be the typical six spots.