Good news, Steelers Nation. After being subjected to a mind numbing amount of mock drafts and plenty of unsubstantiated speculation during what seemed like an inordinately long pre-draft process, minus the Scouting Combine to break up the monotony, the 2021 NFL Draft is finally upon us. I have been given the distinguished task of trying to apply a letter grade to each Steelers selection.
There are specific criteria necessary when attempting to accurately and fairly grade any draft pick. Only time will reveal the validity of any grade given, but I will utilize certain parameters as I attempt to apply an initial grade for each Steelers draft pick. I base each grade on projected roster fit, potential immediate impact, and assumed draft value. Draft value is achieved by evaluating each players actual selection against their projected draft position, whether that be player rankings or projected round.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have selected Wisconsin DL Isaiahh Loudermilk with the 156th selection of the 2021 NFL Draft. Well that certainly was a huge surprise. The Steelers entered the day without a fifth round selection, but traded a 2022 fourth round selection to the Miami Dolphins for the right to select Loudermilk. Honestly my first reaction to the pick was ‘Who?’, closely followed by a earnest ‘Why?’
These are the head scratching type of picks that I would rather not attempt to even give a letter grade. I want to be fair to the young man and I want to keep the faith in the Steelers decision makers like I am always preaching. However, applying a grade to every selection is part of the job description, so here we go. I give the Isaiahh Loudermilk selection an initial draft grade of a D, though I was tempted to go lower. I readily admit I know nothing about the situation compared to the Steelers decision makers, but I do have questions.
The Steelers gave up prime future draft capital to move into the fifth round to select a young man who was expected to be a priority free agent. Seriously? Were the Steelers that concerned that some other franchise was actually going to select him before their sixth round selection rolled around? This wasn't a spur of the moment knee jerk reaction. This was a calculated decision on all accounts. Even if the Steelers thought this young man was the steal of the draft I would still have to ask, who was competing with the Steelers for his services? Only the Steelers can answer that question.
Loudermilk has excellent size and solid athleticism. He stands 6'6" and his listed playing weight was listed at 274 lbs. He has plenty of room to add weight to his lengthy frame. He definitely looks like a NFL defensive end, but sometimes looks can be deceiving.
He has plenty of experience as a four year letterman, but the production and impact plays have been infrequent to say the least. He is a space eater at this point in his career, specializing in tying up blockers and preventing them from reaching the second level. He struggles to gain leverage against the running game, and hasn't shown any real pass rushing prowess.
The best evaluation I could find on him said he may have the potential to become a end of the roster backup defensive end. We can always hope that the Watt brothers shared some insider information about the young man that made him too good to pass up. I will happily admit if I am wrong on this grade. I pray that I am.
Now we want to hear from the BTSC community and from Steelers Nation. What do you think about the selection and what initial grade would you give it. Please place your vote in the attached poll and share your reasoning in the comment section below.
I would like to welcome Isaiahh Loudermilk to the Steelers family on behalf of the BTSC community and Steelers Nation!
What initial draft grade would you give this Steelers selection?
This poll is closed
A = Excellent selection
B = Above average selection
C = Solid selection
D = Below average selection
F = Terrible selection