The Steelers traded into the fifth round to add another selection in the 2021 draft. With that pick, they chose defensive end Isaiahh Loudermilk from Wisconsin.
Defensive line was a position the Steelers looked like they would not address in this draft. But they choose someone who is bit of a “tweener,” listed at 6063 and 274 pounds (although other places have him listed over 290) with 32 5/8″ arms. He will need add bulk and play the defensive end position behind Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt. He is a four-year letterman, playing in 40 games and starting 26. He finished with 63 total tackles and 11.5 tackles for a loss, and also broke up nine passes. At the end of the season he was an East/West Shrine Bowl selection.
Here is where he was ranked by some draft outlets.
He was not listed on the NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah’s top 150.
He was not listed on Pro Football Focus’ top 300 board.
Kyle Crabbs at The Draft Network projected him as a two-gapping 4i/5 tech DE and shared his thoughts saying, “Wisconsin defensive lineman Isaiahh Loudermilk leaves the Badgers program having served as a multi-year starter at defensive end for the team. Loudermilk offers the kind of size and extension skills that simply can’t be taught to defenders; his looming frame with grab your attention as a potential developmental prospect to play along the line and he’s almost sure to get a look because of his size. But Loudermilk, despite his experience playing in the Big Ten as a multi-year starter, lacks appeal in leverage, power, pass-rush ability, and as an overall player; he’s more of a project than he is a plug-and-play defender. But with that in mind, teams who are willing to acquire young talent and invest coaching into them for several years will likely be keen on giving him a shot, making Loudermilk a candidate to get a look from organizations that are stereotypically high-stability environments. There, a long-term development plan can be put in place with a higher likelihood of seeing it through to him becoming a viable rotational defensive lineman.”
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com gave him a grade of 5.55 (Chance to make end of roster or practice squad) and had a priority free agent projection on him, summarizing him by saying, “Has the experience and potentially the size to play for both even and odd fronts. Loudermilk is fairly well built, but could use a little more mass and overall anchor if he is expected to play inside in a 4-3. He plays with heavy hands and fires off the ball and into the neutral zone with good force to strike and stake his claim. While he can settle into solid positioning early in the rep, Loudermilk lacks the play traits and talent to finish as a playmaker. He’ll get some movement as a rusher, but not enough to expect him to play on passing downs. He has Day 3 potential and his best fit might be as a backup 3-4 end.”
We will have our report up shortly.
Overall, based on the grades of the evaluators listed above this pick has a low value grade. The two reports above are not glowing, and he wasn’t listed on several big boards’ overall. For the Steelers to spend a 2022 fourth round pick to move into the fifth round to select him shows they saw something they liked.