2021 Exit Meetings – DE Isaiahh Loudermilk

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back in the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex earlier than they had anticipated, having been ousted from the postseason in the opening round, which unfortunately marks the fifth consecutive season in which they failed to win a postseason game—a new record for the franchise since the merger. Yet again, they find themselves undergoing the exit meeting process earlier than anticipated, which means so are we.

The Steelers did arguably perform at or above expectations this year by going 9-7-1 and making the postseason at all, a reflection of just how much talent they lost during the offseason, from the majority of the offensive line to Mike Hilton, Bud Dupree, Steven Nelson, and Vince Williams—not to mention Stephon Tuitt, essentially.

While we might not know all the details about what goes on between head coach Mike Tomlin and his players during these exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings if they were let up to us. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2021 season.

Player: Isaiahh Loudermilk

Position: DE

Experience: 1 Year

I can’t recall a late-round pick more balked at upon selection in recent memory than the Steelers’ decision to acquire Isaiahh Loudermilk. First of all, it required that they trade into the fifth round by giving up a 2022 fourth-round draft pick. What’s more, Loudermilk was regarded by many as a priority free agent talent, or at least closer than that than a mid-round pick.

Fortunately, where you’re drafted means a lot less than what you do on the field, and it’s fair to say that what he was able to do on the field as a rookie is a lot more than anticipated. That starts wit the fact that he was expected to be a healthy scratch all season, but health along the defensive line did not allow that to happen, with Stephon Tuitt and Tyson Alualu being unavailable.

Rather than be a weekly inactive, he played in 15 games (missing one due to health), logging 288 defensive snaps (and another 43) on special teams. He finished with 23 tackles, three batted passes, and a sack. He should have had two sacks, but one was negated by an unrelated penalty.

As always, the tape matters more than the numbers, though, and the most encouraging thing about Loudermilk is the fact that he got better, in the right ways, over the course of the season. He played with more discipline in his gap management and integrity, he got off of blocks better, and most importantly, he stayed on his feet much more.

His future isn’t written yet, but by the end of the year, he put enough on tape to create some optimism about his potential to be a long-term contributor. That’s exactly what they drafted him to be, and the reason that they made a move to get him.

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