Last week, we conducted studies on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ returning EDGE rushers – Derrek Tuszka, Alex Highsmith, and TJ Watt – to see how and how often they won on money downs, third and fourth down. We’ll do the same with the Steelers’ defensive linemen beginning with 2021 rookie Isaiahh Loudermilk.
As we did before, we’ll break Loudermilk’s rushes down by the pass rush he used, how often he won, and represent it as a percentage. Loudermilk had 35 third/fourth down rushes last year. Here’s how they look.
|Pass Rush Move||Rush Attempts||Rush Wins||Rush Win %|
*Like the EDGE rushers, I didn’t include the N/A in the total at the bottom. That’s the reason for the numbers not matching.
Those numbers are objectively bad. I will offer a little grace to Loudermilk and point out some of his bull rushes could’ve been classified as contain not because he was out on the edge but because it seemed like his was trying to plug up any interior rush lanes for mobile quarterbacks to run to. And he did a nice job impacting the pass game without getting to the QB, finishing the year with three pass deflections.
Still, Loudermilk was essentially a bull rush guy and asked to stunt quite a bit, 20.6% of the time, working as the contain guy in most of those cases. They knew pass rushing wasn’t his thing and to let others try to get the QB instead which again, does bring down Loudermilk’s numbers. But even throwing out the contain/stunt charting, Loudermilk won just 8% of the time. One on a bull where he semi-collapsed the pocket and a late spin move on a clean-up pressure/sack against the Browns late in the year. There were zero clear and obvious wins.
Loudermilk’s biggest question mark coming out of college was his inability to rush the passer. We dedicated a video several weeks ago to breaking down some of his issues that need to be fixed for 2022. Without improvement here, his ceiling will be limited to base end work, which caps his value and upside to the team. It’ll be interesting to check in on these numbers a year ago and see how much improvement there is.