Thanks To Productive Rookie Season, Isaiahh Loudermilk Sees Big Second-Year Jump Coming

Seeing rookie fifth-round draft pick Isaiahh Loudermilk eating up so many meaningful snaps down the stretch in the 2021 season was both a blessing and a curse for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense.

Late in the season, while dealing with a number of injuries along the defensive line, names like Loudermilk, Montravious Adams, and Henry Mondeaux had to play significant snaps throughout games, which led to serious run defense issues overall, sapping the Steelers’ defense of its overall strength in the front seven.

In the center of those struggles was Loudermilk, who was still trying to adjust to the speed and the physicality of the NFL game overall even with coming from the old-school, smash-mouth Big Ten. The NFL, obviously, is a different animal.

Despite going through some trials and tribulations last season under a microscope, Loudermilk — speaking with reporters Tuesday following the Steelers’ OTA session at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side — stated he believes a lot of the young players that saw action last season are in line for a big second-year jump overall, especially with the onus being on the depth guys stepping up again in 2022 to provide meaningful snaps to keep guys like Cam Heyward, Tyson Alualu, and Stephon Tuitt fresh for later in the season.

“Well, we haven’t really talked about it, but that’s just kind of how it happens and how it happened,” Loudermilk said to reporters, according to video via Steelers Live. “I came in not really expecting much, but I was prepared for it. That’s kind of how I go about it. I know that’s how the rest of the kids go about it. Stay prepared no matter what.

“There were a lot of opportunities for us, and a lot of dudes stepped up to the plate,” Loudermilk added. “And I think a lot of guys will make a big jump this next year because of it.”

That experience gained last season down the stretch, while difficult, will go a long way in 2022 as the Steelers appear much deeper and more experienced along the defensive line behind Heyward, Alualu, and especially Tuitt. Loudermilk might not be the pass-rushing factor at the moment that he aims to be, but there’s a comfort level knowing what he’ll provide when on the field in 2022, should he see meaningful snaps once again.

If the late season surge he showed in the final weeks of the season was a sign of things to come, the Steelers are in good shape depth-wise.

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