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One Buccaneers player has to ‘step it up’ in 2023

A former first rounder has a lot of eyes on him.

NFL: MAY 30 Tampa Bay Buccaneers OTA Offseason Workouts Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted outside linebacker Joe Tryon-Shoyinka with the 32nd overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. The idea was to have a big force off the edge of the defensive line and put pressure on opposing quarterbacks to help bolster the Bucs pass rush.

The production thus far has not been what the Buccaneers have hoped for.

Speaking to the media Tuesday as training camp kicks off, general manager Jason Licht was asked about his 2021 first round selection and did not shy away from saying that Tryon-Shoyinka needs to elevate his game.

“Joe has had some flashes, he’s had some good games, he’s shown us why we took him in the first round, but he does need to take a step up,” Licht said. “He needs to step it up this year and we’re confident that he will.”

To be fair, yes, there have been flashes. We’ve seen it in preseason against Tennessee, in Munich against Seattle, and at home against the Los Angeles Rams. However, the stats — eight sacks in two seasons — show that there are still a lot of things the Washington product has to do at the pro level. There have been several times where the 24-year-old has gotten into the opponents backfield to then quickly find himself out of position for a sack or over-pursue the ball carrier.

There is still promise and the latter of what was previously mentioned provides some kind of hope that he will breakout at some point. But there is no doubt the coaching staff and front office are keeping a close eye on Tryon-Shoyinka this season as they expect an increase in productivity from the young rusher in 2023.