PITTSBURGH — The Steelers surprised just about everybody when they traded into the top of the fifth round to grab a defensive lineman out of everything. In a draft where there were clear needs at cornerback and edge rusher, the Steelers moved their 2022 fourth-round pick to go up and get that elusive defensive lineman. That defensive lineman was Wisconsin’s Isaiahh Loudermilk. A virtual unknown commodity, Loudermilk being the benefactor of the trade-up was a surprise that turned many heads and brought skepticism.
In camp, Loudermilk appears to have a hot motor. He runs around the field with his hair on fire. Now, that is something that will have to be tamed with time, but Loudermilk at the very least is energetic and willing at all levels. Tyson Alualu gave high praise to the rookie, going as far as to compare him to Cam Heyward.
“I guess the best way to put it is he is like a young Cam Heyward,” Alualu said. “You know, he’s out there running. He’s got a lot of raw, young talent. But you see a lot of potential in him.”
Alualu made that comparison very deliberately, as he sees Loudermilk being taken under the wing of Heyward on a daily basis.
“He’s gonna get to groom behind Cam and learn from him,” Alualu said. “I’m excited about his growth for this team and for our unit.”
Heyward has noticed a lot of the comparisons being thrown out. Alualu is only the latest to call Loudermilk a ‘young Cam Heyward’. However, Heyward wants Loudermilk to carve out his own path on the way to NFL success.
“I think Isaiahh can be his own player,” Heyward said. “I don’t look at him and want him to be the next Cam Heyward or the next Brett Keisel. He’s got the 3-4 prototype body. He’s a young kid who wants to learn. That’s awesome. But the jury’s still out and he’s got to prove it.”
Loudermilk came in rather light and still has to bump up his frame to truly fill it out and be a prototypical 5-technique. The Steelers, though, are planning to move him up and down the defensive line. With that in mind, Loudermilk will likely need a year before he is full up to speed to work in a rotation.