Now that the regular season 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 have seen and are seeing over the course of the offseason and the regular season 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 reasoning. 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. Because of this, we can and will see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: DL Isaiahh Loudermilk
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: The rookie fifth-round pick seemingly had his role solidified with the Steelers not trading for defensive line help, figuring to continue to contribute in a rotation at least until (or unless) other defensive linemen get healthy and back from the Reserve/Injured List.
After just writing about Isaiahh Loudermilk in this column last week, it’s time to do so again, as the rookie fifth-round pick seemingly strengthens his grip on a regular contributary role, albeit one that may or may not wind up being temporary.
With the Steelers having three defensive linemen down—Tyson Alualu, Stephon Tuitt, and Carlos Davis are all on the Reserve/Injured List—Loudermilk is essentially the top backup right now, with Chris Wormley and Isaiah Buggs starting alongside Cameron Heyward. Henry Mondeaux is also contributing rotationally.
There were reports that the team might pursue defensive line help during the trade deadline. It’s impossible to say how much effort they may have put into acquiring a player, but they did not, ultimately, and Loudermilk himself sort of took that as a bit of confirmation of his role remaining the same for the time being.
And it should, because he is improving each week. He sort of got a ‘make-up’ sack on Sunday, actually, credited as the lineman nearest to Baker Mayfield when he was forced out of bounds behind the line of scrimmage, but he earned a real sack the game before, which was negated by an unrelated penalty the Steelers accepted.
His highlight play on Sunday was actually a tackle on third and long and in which he showed good hustle to chase the play down the field, reminding many of Heyward, who of course learned those same habits from his predecessors in Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel. It’s good to see those things are still being handed down from lineman generation to generation.