The Vikings have wrapped up their 11-man 2021 NFL Draft class by selecting Pitt defensive tackle Jaylen Twyman in the sixth round (No. 199 overall, also known as the Tom Brady spot). He is reunited with college teammate Patrick Jones II, the edge rusher who Minnesota drafted in the third round on Friday night.
Twyman is an interesting prospect for a number of reasons. He racked up 10.5 sacks as a junior in 2019 and was gaining buzz as a potential Day 2 pick this year. He's a true three-technique with some bend to his game and a nice arsenal of pass rushing moves to move get past guards.
But Twyman opted out in 2020, causing his stock to fall a little, and put up mostly awful athletic numbers at Pitt's pro day, causing his stock to plummet. He was never considered a great athlete, but a 5.4 40 and an eight-second three cone drill are remarkably bad times.
Those two green numbers do stick out, though. 40 bench press reps tells you how strong he is, while the vertical jump indicates some level of explosiveness in his lower body.
It's a solid pick for the Vikings in the sixth round. Twyman's 2019 tape is excellent, as he uses advanced pass rushing moves and counters to wreak havoc in the backfield and become a second team All-American. If he still has some of the upside suggested by his production that season, he could turn into a solid interior pass-rusher for the Vikings, who could use one of those. They have a pair of big nose tackles in Michael Pierce and Dalvin Tomlinson, but lack a penetrating three-tech who can get to the quarterback.
Even after the poor testing numbers, Twyman was still ranked 142nd on the consensus board, making him the only one of Minnesota's six Day 3 picks deemed a good value according to the board, for what that's worth.
There are real reasons to be concerned that he doesn't have the overall athleticism to make it in the NFL, but I'm curious to see what Andre Patterson can do with Twyman going forward.
Here's Dane Brugler's scouting report on the Pitt DT:
A one-year starter at Pittsburgh, Twyman lined up primarily at three-technique (over the B gap) in Narduzzi’s 4-3 base scheme, but also saw snaps everywhere from nose tackle to the 4i position. With his productive sophomore season, he became the first interior defensive lineman to lead Pitt in sacks since Aaron Donald in 2013. And with his size, quickness and #97 jersey number, Twyman shows flashes of Donald, utilizing natural leverage and play violence as the core of his play style. His size and anchor limitations will show in the run game and his below average pro day performance was a red flag for scouts. Overall, Twyman can be overwhelmed at the point of attack, but his competitive nature and arsenal of pass rush moves will keep him on an NFL field if he performs up to his potential. He projects best as an under tackle in a four-man front who can be aggressively schemed up and down the line.
With no seventh-round pick for the first time since 2008, the Vikings' draft class is complete. Stay tuned for more analysis on their weekend and a look at who they end up signing as undrafted free agents.
Thanks for reading. Make sure to bookmark this site and check back daily for the latest Vikings news and analysis all offseason long. Also, follow me on Twitter and feel free to ask me any questions on there.