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How Does EDGE Joe Tryon Fit with the Buccaneers?

The latest addition to the front seven profiles well with the team’s philosophy.

The Buccaneers took approximately three seconds to select EDGE Joe Tryon with the 32nd overall pick, which should show their enthusiasm for the University of Washington product.

The pick shores up a critical position for the team, who needed a third pass rusher to back up Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul and prepare for an eventual starting role. Tryon is an ideal candidate, as GM Jason Licht’s latest pick from UW has excellent athletic traits worth getting excited about.

We’ll dive a little more into Tryon’s background.

JOE TRYON’S COLLEGE CAREER

Tryon wetted his feet as a redshirt freshman in 2018 when he started two of 12 games, recording 20 tackles, two for loss, with one sack. He quickly ascended the following year, as he earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors by logging 41 tackles, 12.5 for loss, with eight sacks in 13 games (12 starts). He opted out of the 2020 season.

Six of his nine sacks came in his final six games, so to say he has a limited sample size is generous. He explained that the opt-out decision came when the PAC-12 heavily considered moving the season to the spring. He wanted to be ready for the draft, and he already committed to his preparation plan when the conference decided to resume in November.

WHAT ARE HIS STRENGTHS?

Washington runs a hybrid defense, and Tryon took on a multidimensional role that will likely be similar to what Tampa expects of him. He played snaps as a traditional hand-in-the-dirt edge, a stand-up rusher, and as an off-ball linebacker. As such, he at least has some familiarity with traditional rushes, stunting, setting the edge in the run game, and dropping in coverage.

His outstanding athleticism allowed him to showcase clear potential in most of these areas. Measuring at 6-foot-5, 260 pounds and sporting 34” arms, Tryon looks like a prototypical 3-4 EDGE player with a long, chiseled frame and a quick get-off. He’s got really smooth hips and lateral agility, which allows him to glide around the line and change direction with little effort.

He’s flashed strong hands and improved awareness, and he possesses a hot motor that leads to passionate play from whistle to whistle. His mental makeup has been praised by several former coaches, with former UW defensive coordinator Peter Kwiatkowski saying, “It goes to show (what happens) when you put in the work, you put in the time, and it’s quality and it’s detailed and there’s a purpose behind what you’re trying to get done. He had the skills. He’s long and can run, stuff like that. And then you add the work ethic and all that, and his development has been awesome.”

WHERE CAN HE IMPROVE?

Tryon’s relative lack of production is not just a result of his limited college starts but inefficiencies in his game. That’s largely due to said inexperience, but he’ll need to learn some of the finer points of pass rushing technique if he hopes to be a consistently impactful rusher at the next level.

He’s a motivated guy, eager to mix it up, but too often you’ll see reps where he just runs into the blocker with the hope of out-willing them. He has to learn more tricks beyond slapping and swiping, instead thinking a few steps ahead and setting up blockers with more thoughtful move chains. He plays tall, and leverage can be an issue at times.

He also looks awkward at times in space, as he needs to learn the importance of breaking down and making the sure play. To that end, improved pursuit angles, self-control, and routes to the ball would serve him well, too.

HOW DOES THIS ALL WORK WITH THE BUCS?

Ultimately, it’s clear to see why the Bucs like Tryon for Todd Bowles’s versatile defensive scheme.

First of all, you’ll always want to bet on plus physical traits like Tryon’s. Speaking strictly from an athletic perspective, he’s not going to get out-maneuvered by many NFL offensive linemen. The Bucs have several freak athletes across their defense, namely JPP, Devon White and Vita Vea. You always have your physical tools to fall back on when technique isn’t executed properly. That’s part of why Pierre-Paul is still a productive player at this stage in his career.

It’s clear that Licht abides by the ethos of bringing in top-tier athletes and trusting coaches to unlock their full potential.

The Bucs like to stunt and loop along the defensive line, and that requires sudden, fluid movements to get where you need to go. Tryon fits that bill, and he did that a good amount for the Huskies. The Bucs love to zone blitz and drop edges into coverage, too, which has even resulted in interceptions for Pierre-Paul.

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You don’t have to be a seamless coverage ace at the position like Lavonte David or Fred Warner, but Bowles simply asks that you know your assignment and demonstrate competency in the open field. Tryon does have work to do here, but again he at least has experience to pair with his physical tools. He’s produced positive plays in space, too, so it’s not like he’s hopeless or anything like that.

Tryon having snaps with his hand in the dirt could also come in handy if Bowles chooses to line him up over offensive guards in unique packages.

The Bucs expect you to handle yourself in the run game as well, as evidenced by their dominance in that area over the last couple years, so Tryon’s great length, plus play strength and active hands should help him get on the field for more than just third-down or obvious pass-rush situations.

PATIENCE WILL BE KEY

The Bucs settled on the same conclusion that most of us did when all was said and done. Getting a high-upside edge was easily the biggest “need” for this championship roster, and they went with somebody knowing he would need some time to blossom.

Tryon is going to an excellent situation with an exemplary team culture, thoughtful coaching, and accomplished veterans. It’s clear the physical tools will play at the next level, and the work ethic and mindset seem to be in the right spot as well.

If he can continue to build his football intelligence and leech as much knowledge as possible off his coaches and peers while honing his on-field discipline, he should become a long-time stalwart in Tampa. It won’t happen overnight, as this defense expects a lot from each position, but fans should feel good about Tryon’s chances.

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