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Buccaneers’ Joe Tryon a dark horse rookie of the year candidate?

Tampa Bay’s first-round pick has been impressive during camp. Could he actually be a threat to win Defensive Rookie of the Year?

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NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers OTA Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After winning Super Bowl LV and subsequently bringing almost everyone on their roster back for 2021, the Buccaneers had the luxury of drafting for depth and the future back in April. So, with the No. 32 overall pick, they selected edge rusher Joe Tryon out of the University of Washington.

From the jump, Tryon will be a rotational pass rushing threat, as Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul have the starting outside linebacker spots locked down. But with the buzz that the rookie has generated early in training camp, it certainly wouldn’t be surprising to see him get more and more snaps as the season progresses. Time will tell, as he’ll first be tested by the preseason before getting into regular season game action next month. For now, though, the hype is there for the 6-foot-5, 259-pound 22-year-old.

So, if Tryon lives up to the hype in his first professional season, could he be a threat to win Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2021? On Tuesday, Pro Football Focus listed him as one of its “dark horse candidates” to win the award.

PFF’s Anthony Treash wrote the article and listed Tryon, Christian Barmore (Patriots), Caleb Farley (Titans) and Asante Samuel Jr. (Chargers) as four dark horse candidates to threaten the betting favorites. When he got to talking about Tampa Bay’s first-round pick, he started with the perceived weaknesses of the former Washington Huskies standout:

“The biggest concern with Tryon entering the 2021 NFL Draft was the recklessness within his rushes. His pass-rush plan was always errant, and his dominant reps wouldn’t come consistently. Tryon posted a middling 71.9 pass-rush grade in his final season at Washington in 2019 before opting out in 2020. Along with that, nearly half of his 41 pressures were either unblocked or came on cleanup plays.”

Criticisms aside, Treash goes on to note what Bucs head coach Bruce Arians has said about Tryon in the last couple of weeks. Arians has been impressed with the rookie, telling reporters to ask Donovan Smith and Tristan Wirfs about Tryon’s pass rush inventory because “he’s kicking their asses pretty good sometimes” in training camp. Not to mention, the head coach has said that Tryon is already crafting a nice role for himself in the defense. With that in mind, Treash goes on to say this:

“The Washington product has the size, length and explosiveness for the position. He is such a violent player with a menacing bull rush, and the dominant reps he put on tape are easy to fall in love with. If he is developing at the rate Arians and many around Tampa’s camp have alluded to, Tryon could put up better-than-expected production in a blitz-heavy defense littered with talent.”

It wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see Tryon excel from day one. His size alone catches the eye, but his pass rush arsenal should play well in a defense that will put him in a great position to succeed early. Tampa Bay’s defense is loaded with talent and will create chances for the No. 32 overall pick to push the pocket and get in the backfield. That’s why it would seem that the rookie has a pretty high floor in year one, but how high his ceiling is remains to be seen.

Considering him for Defensive Rookie of the Year may be a tad lofty given he presumably won’t have much of a chance to start. Just think, with as much as Antoine Winfield Jr. did in his debut season last year, he only received a single vote for the award.

But if we’re talking dark horse candidates, why not? Tryon’s odds to win the award are currently +3,500, so if you’re believing the hype, now might not be a bad time to get in on that action.

What do you think, Bucs Nation? Could you see Tryon making enough of an impact to earn Defensive Rookie of the Year consideration?