The saying goes, be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it. Pittsburgh Steelers fans often complain about the front office’s conservatism when it comes to ‘playing the draft board’ and moving around, but you would struggle to find a fan of the trade they did make yesterday.
“We traded our fourth-round pick in 2022 to be able to draft Isaiahh Loudermilk this year,” general manager Kevin Colbert explained. “In doing that, just to address the trade part of it, we’re pretty sure that we’ll have some type of compensatory pick in that fourth-round range. We’ll never know exactly what that will be.”
“We just wanted to get back in that fifth round this year, especially when a guy like Isaiahh was available,” he added. “Loudermilk played in a 3-4 defense. He’s got the length and the athleticism that you like. He’s played techniques that he’ll continue to be taught here. It was real exciting to be able to trade back into that round and get a guy like Isaiahh.”
The ‘problem’, so to speak, is that Loudermilk is not a player that many people had going high on their draft boards. In fact many draft analysts — which, take their value for what you will — even had him projected as a priority free agent. But the Steelers saw defensive ends going off the board, and a long way to go before their next pick.
“In Isaiahh’s case, there wasn’t a lot of defensive linemen entering into this draft,” Colbert noted. “Obviously, they started to get picked, and that’s why we were willing to trade a pick from next year, because we’re pretty sure we’ll have some type of compensatory pick.”
“Trading back into the fifth round with a future pick, we didn’t want to leave a defensive player like Isaiah Loudermilk out there, so to be able to draft that young man at that spot I think was just indicative of the people that we felt were available.”
That said, the young man out of Wisconsin is coming into a crowded defensive line room that returns all seven players who were on the 53-man roster a year ago, from Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, and Tyson Alualu, to Chris Wormley, Carlos Davis, Isaiah Buggs, and Henry Mondeaux. Most likely, more than one of that second group of names is not going to make the 53-man roster, with Loudermilk thrown in.
Needless to say, it would be a bad look if Loudermilk ends up not making the roster after Colbert traded away a future fourth-round pick in order to get him. But they liked him enough, and felt strong enough about the depth at the position, that they were comfortable making this move. Let’s see how it plays out for them. I’m not expecting a young Cameron Heyward, but you never know.