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The Steelers made somewhat of a surprising move when they traded up to No. 156 overall in the fifth round with the Dolphins to select Wisconsin defensive end Isaiahh Loudermilk. Miami received a 2022 fourth-round pick from the Steelers in the trade.
Kevin Colbert mentioned in his pre-draft press conference that it was "very doubtful" they'll trade up given that they had just eight picks. The Steelers ended up giving up a fourth-round pick next year to get Loudermilk in the fifth round, however, they're banking on getting a few compensatory picks in 2022 with the departures of Bud Dupree, Mike Hilton and Matt Feiler in free agency.
"We're pretty sure we'll have a compensatory pick in that fourth round range (in 2022)," Colbert said of trading up for Loudermilk. And we just wanted to get back into that fifth round this year, particularly when a guy like Isaiah was available. He played in a 3-4 defense (at Wisconsin), he has the length that you like, and he has played techniques that he'll continue to be taught here."
Loudermilk projects as a 3-4 defensive end with position flexibility along the defensive front. He usually played between 285-295 pounds but lost weight while training for his pro day and has since begun putting weight back on, something he said the Steelers requested he continue to do.
Wisconsin plays a similar defensive scheme as the Steelers, and that's why Colbert and Mike Tomlin were so intrigued by him, along with his frame of being 6-foot-6 and around 285-295.
"There's a scarcity when you talk about the size of Isaiahh Loudermilk, and that was one of the things that was really intriguing to us," Tomlin said. "Also intriguing to us was that he's had a lot of experience in a very similar defensive scheme (to ours), so it wasn't a lot of guesswork. Much like it was when we were looking at T.J. Watt when he was coming out of Wisconsin, it was an easy evaluation because all of the things he did at Wisconsin we'll be asking him to do similar things for us."
Defensive line coach Karl Dunbar had similar remarks as Tomlin on Loudermilk.
"He is a defensive lineman," Dunbar said. "When I say defensive lineman, he is going to play everything from a five-technique to a zero-nose.
"He fits the mold for what we want to do here in Pittsburgh. He is a strapping young man. To get a kid with this kind of size and height in the fifth round is a really great gift for the Steelers.
"His versatility really helped him get picked for this team. The only bad thing about him is he is going to come here and won't be able to wear No. 97 (Cameron Heyward's number)."
Speaking of Cameron Heyward, defensive coordinator Keith Butler even said that Loudermilk reminds him of a young Heyward.