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Preseason Scouting Notes: Jaylen Twyman, DL, Pittsburgh

Redshirt Junior | 6’2” 290 lbs | Washington, D.C. | July 19, 1999

 

A premier interior pass rusher with an explosive first step and active, accurate hands.

 

Overview:

In his first year as a starter on the Pittsburgh defensive line, Jaylen Twyman became one of the most productive interior pass rushers in the NCAA. He finished his redshirt sophomore campaign with 10.5 sacks, earning him Second-Team All-American honors. Twyman lined up all over the place for Pat Narduzzi’s DL last year. He primarily lined up as a 4i- and 3-technique, but had plenty of reps playing the 0-, 1-, and 2i- spots. To cap things off, Twyman became the first Pittsburgh interior defensive lineman to lead the team in sacks since Aaron Donald while wearing the same No. 97 jersey.

Strengths:

– Explosive first-step
– Plays with quick, active hands and hits his set points consistently
– A true finisher. Converts pressures into sacks frequently and rarely misses tackles
– Polished swim move is his go-to when rushing the passer
– Shows quickness and lateral agility on stunts
– Smooth ability to disengage from blocks as a run defender
– Has the versatility to play up and down the DL
– Not very susceptible to reach blocks
– Shows good flexibility and has the body control to stay square when facing contact from different angles

Areas to improve:

– Bull rush rarely overwhelms OL
– Doesn’t always showcase a clear pass rush plan
– Will stop his feet on contact occasionally
– A little prone to false steps
– Anchor is merely adequate. Can get washed against more powerful OL tandems

Injury concerns:

N/A

Projection:

Twyman profiles as an ideal 3-technique or 4i- in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme. He will likely start his career as a high-end interior pass rushing specialist, and should blossom into a three-down starter by his second season. He could potentially kick inside to the 1-tech spot on pass rushing downs, as his initial quickness ability to shoot gaps could give him a major advantage against interior linemen. The explosiveness and advanced hand usage Twyman showcases should attract teams looking for a starting 3-tech or a boost to their interior pass rush. He’s likely to hear his name called sometime between the late first round and early-second round if his stock holds steady.

What to watch in 2020:

Will Twyman be able to replicate his 10.5 sack performance? Typically, interior rushers don’t rack up such high sack totals, and Twyman’s pressure rate suggests that his numbers may come back to Earth in 2020. To become a true all-around interior force, he’ll need to work on improving his bull rush and setting his anchor against double-teams. If he can add play strength without sacrificing quickness, Twyman has a great chance at becoming the first interior defensive lineman off the board on draft night.