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2021 NFL Draft Profile #13: Jalen Twyman | Pittsburgh Defensive Tackle

Jalen aligns at DT for the Pitt Panthers. #97 on the field, he's listed at 6'2, 290lbs and is a Redshirt Junior.


- Jalen is a freak athlete at the position, will BLOW UP the NFL combine

- Great first step off the snap that is essential to his success

- Shows quick and violent hands - loves the two hand swipe, going to his left

- One of the highest ceilings in the draft, absurd pass rusher when given 1-on-1 opportunities

- Will need a lot more technical refinement, but the athleticism and size definitely makes you think about the popular Aaron Donald comparison

- Takes pride in his run defense, sheds 1-on-1 blocks with ease

- Best used as a 3-tech DT, but has played some 1-tech and occasionally holds his ground vs double teams

Favorite pass rush move is the two hand swipe, going to his left. Quick, violent hands and quick burst two get past the Guard. This skillset makes Twyman so dangerous as he eliminates any chance of success on this screen.

This is where Twyman needs to be played - with a 1-on-1 opportunity vs a Guard. Pitt far too often played him at 1-tech, or else he would've put up crazy production. Twyman just bullies his man (65) here, continuously running his feet and with the inside hand placement, he can shove the Guard away. Game winning sack, anybody?

Twyman can make plays in the run game with his quickness off the snap. If he's given the leeway to freelance a bit, he can blow up plays. While he's supposed to stay outside vs this zone run and win B-Gap, he knifes through A-Gap instead. He has the quickness to blow this run up, that not many IDL do.

As I've been saying, Twyman is best suited in a 3-tech role where he can take on 1-on-1 blocks. This translates to the run game as well, where he will absolutely stand up an offensive linemen. Good punch and extension, no ground given up.


- Inconsistent effort and technique at times

- Needs to show more power with his hands and pairing that with his lower body

- A bit light at 290 and definitely needs to get stronger

- Can play high at times, needs to get consistent with his pad level

- When his first move doesn't work, he rarely has a counter or plan B

Twyman throws a club with his left arm. He misses, hitting the helmet instead, but my bigger issue is his pad level, and how his feet don't link to his hands. When throwing a club, you would expect Twyman to plant off his right foot and explode to the left. Instead, he's taking these quick choppy steps, with no sense of direction. It seems like he's happy with just hopping in place. Once he cleans up these fine details, he is going to be dominant.

Round Projection

The Draft Network: Third Round

Pro Football Network: Second Round

Texans Unfiltered: High Second Round

Fit with Houston Texans

Twyman is an interesting fit with the Texans because neither he nor Ross Blacklock has the ideal size of a NT in a 3-4 or 1-tech in a 4-3. Both are better suited for a 3-tech role, however they could work well together both as 3-4 ends. If Blacklock can work on two-gapping, and allow Twyman to one-gap, this could be the formula for success. I think it's absolutely worth taking a shot on the high ceiling that comes with Twyman. DTs with his athleticism don't come around every year. He needs refinement, but has the potential to be a generational talent.

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