What each Steelers rookie will struggle with during 2021
By Andrew Falce
Steelers Isaiahh Loudermilk
Problem: Where to play him
The Steelers selection of Isaiahh Loudermilk was a curious one on draft day. Even more puzzling is just how he is going to factor into the defense early on. One of the biggest draws for him was his height, as he was one of the few 6’6 defensive linemen in this draft. He trimmed down to 274 for his athletic testing though, and his play mimics more of a nose tackle than anything else.
As it stands right now, Loudermilk seems like a potential defensive end. While his weight is closer to an edge rusher, his skills and horrible athleticism make him a lineman only. The issue is then, he will need to add about 15 pounds in order to get his playing weight closer to 290. That will likely lead to even worse athleticism, as no one gets faster or more agile by adding weight. This could limit his effectiveness as an end, especially in an era where these ends are expected to be key contributors.
While a lot of athleticism concerns could be put to rest by a move to nose tackle, his height makes him a bad fit there. His profile and style of play don’t really have a great fit for the Steelers right now. This won’t matter much as a rookie, as he is likely to be the gameday inactive each week, but if he wants to earn a role with the team eventually, he will need to settle into a position that suits him the best.