With the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2022 season over, the team finishing above .500 but failing to make the postseason, we have turned our attention to the offseason. One thing that it means is that some stock evaluations are going to start taking on broader contexts, reflecting on a player’s development, either positively or negatively, over the course of the season. Other evaluations will reflect only one immediate event or trend. The nature of the evaluation, whether short-term or long-term, will be noted in the reasoning section below.
Player: DL Isaiahh Loudermilk
Stock Value: Down
Reasoning: With the Steelers continuing to add defensive linemen via outside free agency to their roster, they are not only adding direct competition for Isaiahh Loudermilk’s roster spot in 2023, they are also perhaps communicating their dissatisfaction with his trajectory.
The Pittsburgh Steelers traded a 2022 fourth-round draft pick in 2021 for a fifth-round pick that they used to select Wisconsin defensive lineman Isaiahh Loudermilk. Having served two NFL seasons and logged over 400 career defensive snaps, that’s actually not awful value for the 156th-overall draft selection.
But there is a distinct possibility that’s as far as things go for Loudermilk in Pittsburgh. The Steelers signed defensive linemen Breiden Fehoko and Armon Watts ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft, during which they are expected to continue to address the trenches.
It should be noted that there are likely to be some departures from last season. Most anticipate that Tyson Alualu, not currently under contract, will retire. Chris Wormley, meanwhile, is recovering from a torn ACL, and is a free agent.
That still leaves Cameron Heyward, Larry Ogunjobi, Montravius Adams, DeMarvin Leal, and now Fehoko and Watts for Loudermilk to compete with, which would make for a tight roster. The Steelers did carry seven defensive linemen in recent years in certain contexts, but he can’t count on them doing it again.
After showing some promise as the year progressed during his rookie season, Loudermilk began his second year dealing with an injury that kept him inactive for the first five weeks. The Steelers were playing Leal, the rookie third-round pick, ahead of him until he got injured.
That was short-lived, however, and Loudermilk’s playing time dropped when Leal returned. He was even inactive for a game before injuries rose again, and then Wormley tore his ACL. He ended up playing 17 snaps in the finale, his first double-digit total since before the bye.
There’s still a long way to go, but that also means the Steelers can continue to add competition to the defensive line, which will make it harder for Loudermilk to make the roster. There’s a good chance they will draft a defensive lineman, and they may even draft one quite high. Some believe the Steelers could even take one in the first round, or at least at 32. If they were to do that, it would almost guarantee Pittsburgh would have to carry seven linemen just for him to have a chance, with Heyward, Ogunjobi, and Leal already at end.