Notes on Pittsburgh duo Jaylen Twyman & Paris Ford

July 22nd, 2020 | Written by Rob Staton

Jaylen Twyman is the kind of player Seattle needs

Pittsburgh’s defense from 2019 was a lot of fun to watch, thanks to two players in particular who stand out as possible targets in the 2021 class.

There’s a lot to like about defensive tackle Jaylen Twyman and safety Paris Ford.

Twyman is listed at 6-2 and 290lbs so he’s relatively undersized to play inside. He also doesn’t really have much scope to get above 300lbs — so you’re going to have to compensate size for impact. Frankly, this is the type of player Seattle has needed for some time.

We’ll need to see how he matches up in terms of arm length. With the way he plays, that’ll be important. His hand use is very good and is the most attractive aspect of his game alongside his athleticism. Being able to keep his frame clean and disengage at the next level will be crucial to his potential success, so that’s something to keep in mind when measurements are taken next year.

However, he had 10.5 sacks in 2019 and 12 TFL’s. There aren’t many defensive tackles putting up those numbers in college.

As mentioned, the thing that really stands out is his ability to stay clean and work openings. Twyman has a really good swim move and executes the push/pull to a high standard too. He keeps his feet moving and doesn’t stop working to the quarterback. That’s not always a good thing because sometimes you want to see a defensive tackle just plant their feet, bully and force a blocker backwards into the pocket. You can easily lose balance if you’re too active and get washed out. Twyman’s balance is excellent though and rather than get walked out of contention he forces blockers onto the backfoot with extended arms, quickness and the threat to slip a gap at any moment.

It’s a connected process. His hand-use bats off attempted blocks and combines with the movement. He’s difficult to pin down — you can’t engage and lock out as a blocker and you’re forced to attack on the move. He’s nearly always clean and then he can play with patience — waiting for the moment to rip/swim.

When he connects he’s very good at jolting with a strong punch or tossing blockers out of the way. He looks quick and agile and has just enough sand in his pants to handle duties inside.

There’s one rush against Delaware where the center gets into his shoulder pads and creates initial contain. Twyman simply bides his time and shrugs him off with a swim before exploding into the backfield for a sack. He’s really slippery. You’re not going to stone him too often at the line. He’s going to wriggle free.

On another play against North Carolina he stunted to the edge and ran a really extended loop all the way to the quarterback — showing off his quickness and agility.

As we know in Seattle, you need gap-discipline to play defensive tackle in this scheme. They’ve never had a dynamic sack artist working inside because they don’t often play in attack mode. Priority number one is handle your gaps. They’re happy for their defensive tackles to push the pocket rather than necessarily shoot and play in attack-mode. I need to see Twyman this year to understand whether he’s going to be someone they see as a fit — or whether he’d be more suited to a situational rush role (which would obviously impact his stock).

Even so — it’s always exciting to see a defensive tackle who can create problems and collect sacks. A dynamic interior rusher is one of the more exciting aspects of the game. Seattle hasn’t had one for far too long.

If Twyman produced fireworks as a pass rusher, Paris Ford delivers energy and intensity at safety.

The entire defense was lifted by his play. They were hollering at his hits and the way he celebrates every successful moment. Ford has the attitude, the edge and the desire to enjoy himself that every team needs in their defensive backfield.

Again he’s not the biggest player (6-0, 190lbs) but he plays way beyond his size. He will deliver an absolute sledgehammer hit given the opportunity. You hear cracks when he tackles — the unmistakable sound of a helmet being smacked on a jarring hit follows Ford around the field. Don’t come into his area or he’ll dump you on your arse. He’s a bruising, intense hitter that helps set a tone.

In other words — he’s Seattle’s kind of safety. There’s not a lot of consistency in terms of the physical profile they’ve targeted at the position. However, they love guys who play like this. Hitting is an aspect they treasure.

Ford has decent range in run support. He identifies stretch runs and can sprint to the ball carrier to create TFL situations. Virginia Tech ran the quarterback on one play against Pittsburgh last year and he read it all the way, sprinted up to the LOS and just hammered the QB. It suggested evidence of an ability to understand the play, trust his eyes and finish. The ability to handle the perimeter stuff is key for a team playing against the NFC West teams.

He reads the middle of the field well and is opportunistic. He has a knack for making plays — sticking in coverage, collecting a deflected pass for an interception, making an open-field tackle. He’s much more tenacious than you’d expect for his size.

He’s only had one year as a starter so it’ll be interesting to see how he develops. He had three interceptions in 2019. Can he add to that tally, show off great range in the open-field and convince teams he’s a complete safety prospect? Even if he can’t — his play around the LOS and the second level is still highly impressive.

It’ll also be interesting to see how he tests. Ford was a four-star recruit and the likes of Auburn, Florida and Michigan all showed interest before he opted to stay close to home. Twyman was also a four-star prospect coveted by Penn State, Florida and South Carolina. So it’s not like both are overachieving types — they have a pedigree.

Twyman and Ford are highly talented and need to be on our radar for the future — whether there’s a college football season in 2020 or not.

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54 Responses to “Notes on Pittsburgh duo Jaylen Twyman & Paris Ford”

  1. Bankhawk says:

    Rob, that was one danged fine read! Thanks so much for being the keeper of the flame throughout this weird, anticlimactic off-season.
    You’ve got me pumped for the possibilities these two represent.

  2. Gohawks5151 says:

    I’ve heard Twyman’s name several times before. Awesome read. I’ll have to check out him film. As always, Thanks Rob! Have you checked out Carlos Basham out of Wake Forest?

  3. Georgia Hawk says:

    This season, or coming off season rather, is going to be really interesting to see how COVID affects some of these lesser known prospects. Will there be enough film on Ford to convince teams that he isnt just a hitter and can cover well enough? How far will he rise if there is?

    I think you are going to have your work cut out for you scouting this draft Rob. Its not going to be anywhere near the same as it has been.

  4. Max says:

    Great right up Rob!Off topic,but here is my super simple,straightforward checklist for another hawks Super Bowl:
    -cut every single mediocre,overpaid RFA signed this off season (Jackson,hollister,hunt,Moore savings=9.5 mil)
    -trim some fat on the DL (maybe Iupati,warmack. savings=1.5 mil)
    -sign Josh Gordon to vet min
    -sign snacks to vet min
    -give Clowney a 4 year,18mil/yr deal.stucture the deal so that it’s a reasonable cap hit year 1 with the big cap hits being year 2 and 3 (I’m not too well versed in contract stuff,but the way you talked about how frank Clark’s contract is structured,that’s what I want)

    Make those 6 subtractions,3 additions,and I guarantee that team contends with NO and SF for NFC supremacy. Who says no?

    PS: this is in no way predictive.You outlined before how unrealistic it is they cut some of these player(hollister,hunt) and I agree.these are just theoretically possible moves I want them to make.without them,this team doesn’t win more than 10 games.

    • McZ says:

      This is basically the same team as 2019, plus Snacks (who will not play for vet minimum).
      The 2019 team had a crap DL, had lazy tackling all over the place.

      Cannot see, how your moves will change that.

  5. Volume12 says:

    I want to like more Ford more than I do. He’s good and has better recognition skills than Marquise Blair, but same thing. I’m not sold on him being a day 1 starter. He’s great coming forward, but struggles in the opposite direction. Meaning, can he improve his transition? And that frame is rail thin.

  6. Darnell says:

    Twyman maybe in the Quinton Jefferson role/mold?

    Jefferson was 6’3 290 when drafted. Can Twyman similarly play some end in base and reduce inside for passing situations much like Jefferson did for the Hawks?

  7. WALL UP says:

    One player to keep an eye on is Miami’s Gregory Rousseau. After going to the hurricanes in two consecutive drafts, you can be sure JS & Co. are aware of his talents these past two years. It would not be surprising that he may declare for the 2021 draft, even if there’s a shorten 2020 season. His talents are NFL ready.

  8. Happy Hawk says:

    Thanks again Rob! Wow that Pitt Panther defensive is pretty tough if you add Patrick Jones (Edge) to those 2.

  9. cha says:

    Film Breakdown: Could Brandon Shell Offer Potential Upgrade for Seahawks’ Offensive Line?

    https://youtu.be/HS98WX3pea0

    My biggest takeaway from this is to once again weep in my whisky about the Hawks not getting Calais Campbell.

  10. cha says:

    Another Cowherd piece about RW and team support.

    https://twitter.com/TheHerd/status/1285650488126402560

    • Denver Hawker says:

      What’s his angle with this messaging? Is he saying what Russ doesn’t want to say publicly?

      • Rob Staton says:

        Yes… he is.

        New article on it tomorrow.

        • cha says:

          Here’s my take based on very little evidence.

          The video of RW & AB working out at RW’s house was posted deliberately (duh). RW clearly sending a message.

          Hawks said ‘no thanks.’

          AB decided to “retire.”

          RW not happy. Calls Cowherd to up the ante and send a stronger message for star power.

  11. charlietheunicorn says:

    Let’s hypothetically say the CFB season is completely scrapped or greatly curtailed/adjusted…

    Would a high profile CFB player who is likely to be drafted even play?
    If CFB starts in the spring, would teams have enough time to evaluate any players properly, thus the draft would need to be pushed back?
    With the limited practice/develop time in the 2020 preseason, how will this impact where players are drafted in 2021, if this is the case for a second preseason….. “ready” players pushed up the draft boards???? Will it take 3 or 4 years to evaluate players drafted in 2020??

  12. WALL UP says:

    The 2021 draft class has a very good group WRs. One that will complement the Hawks’ existing group is 6-6 WR TJ Vasher. His amazing catch radius would provide the WR3 that they’re in need of.

    It’s quite a bit early, but I’d love to see their first two picks go:

    1. Gregory Rousseau DE
    2or3. TJ Vasher WR

  13. cha says:

    https://twitter.com/NHLSeattle_/status/1286088793787777024

    Looks like we get a team name tomorrow! Hopefully colors too.

  14. Sea Mode says:

    So much for that supposed “retirement”:

    https://mobile.twitter.com/TomPelissero/status/1286130566706987009

    I didn’t think so anyways tbh.

  15. Trevor says:

    Looking forward to your take on Russ using Cowherd to get his message out publicly. Starting to remind me a little of the Rodgers and Green Bay scenario. Rodgers often seemed to use Cowherd in the same manner.

    No matter how you slice it one would have to believe the Hawks scouting department have to be focused on DL, OT and QB this off season.

  16. SonGoku says:

    Do you think it’s impossible to fit Clowney or Griffen and possibly Adams (if he plays under his rookie contract this deason) in the cap?

  17. Big Mike says:

    Saw something this morning saying that the new name for the Washington franchise will be “Sentinels”. Not bad. Like many here I refer Foreskins but………….

  18. dcd2 says:

    Hey Rob! Really glad you dove into the Pitt defense and appreciate the looks at these two.

    I do have to say I’m really surprised you didn’t touch on Patrick Jones II (EDGE) though. Did you look at him during the film review? He seems like a Seahawky LEO, with length and quicks off the edge. Maybe because we just drafted two guys for that spot? I hope you can share your thoughts on him, as he really stood out to me when watching that D. Pitt should be a fun team to watch this year.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGFmy6zXXRI&t=131s

    • Rob Staton says:

      I need to spend more time on him but he appears to have a lot less potential IMO. And he did run a 5.04 forty at 223lbs at SPARQ which isn’t promising. Not a big-time recruit like Twyman or Ford either.

      • dcd2 says:

        Thanks. Not a great time, for sure. He looks like he should be faster than that to me, but I wonder when that time was from? He shows as 6’5 260lbs now, and doesn’t look slow.

        I just googled him to see where people might be early mocking him and if I’m crazy. Not sure how reputable they are, but Fansided had an article on him and said he could be a 1st rounder.

        https://nflmocks.com/2020/06/25/2021-nfl-draft-eye-edge-patrick-jones-ii/

        Pauline’s site has him as the overall #31 currently on the 2021 simulator.

        Regardless, I hope you get a chance to watch him some more. He’s been a favorite of mine since last year and I respect your opinion more than most others.

        By the way, I hope you and your family are well. I still read every article, but have been trying to focus on my work for the last few months, so haven’t been able to dive into the comments. Appreciate you making the time to keep the articles rolling at your usual high standard.

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