Joe Tryon was always going to be a member of the Bucs, he just needed the clock to hit 12:03 AM EST.
“They made it verbal,” Tryon told reporters Thursday night. “[The Bucs] told me, ‘If you’re there at 32, we’re going to hopefully take you.’. I ended up in a perfect spot for me. I can’t wait to be a Buc.”
“We had a pretty good sense of who was going to come off and who was going to be there,” general manager Jason Licht told reporters after the draft. “He was the top guy we had when we picked. He was over guys that had been picked. If we walked away and got Joe Tryon, we were going to be elated.”
Tryon and the Bucs are a perfect fit. Tampa Bay has questions when it comes to the depth at the EDGE position. It will also need someone to eventually take over for Jason Pierre-Paul, who will be 33-years-old when he’s up for a new contract in 2022.
The former Huskie is the answer to both the depth questions and the need for an eventual replacement. The 6-foot-5, 262-pound linebacker enjoyed a breakout 2019 season that saw him register 8.0 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss before opting out in 2020. Bruce Arians talked about the need for more speed on defense and how you can never have enough depth in the trenches. Once again, Tryon adds to both departments.
“He’s a very fluid athlete,” Licht said. “He’s got very good feet… Has good lateral quickness. He plays with tremendous effort, which raises his game speed in my opinion because he never gives up. We thought his workouts really jumped off the tape; just the way he can move his feet, move laterally and play with balance in his drops. He’s going to be a very versatile guy for us.”
Tryon’s self-scouting report is one that reads perfectly into what the Bucs were looking for, as well. “I don’t have to come off the field. I can play the run on first and second down, then get after the quarterback on third down. My versatility, I fit any scheme. Drop me in coverage. I’m an all-around player.”
But the best part about Tryon isn’t about his physical traits and what he can do on the field. It’s about his mental makeup and who he is off the field. Tryon’s football IQ is one of the best and he’s eager to get better.
That combination is a deadly one in the NFL and it fits right in with the Bucs’ culture.
“I’m going to be a sponge,” Tryon said. “Those dudes [Pierre-Paul and Shaquil Barrett] are some really big-time players. They’ve been doing it, playing at a high level for the past decade, so I can’t wait to soak that all in and learn from them, because that’s a big-time opportunity.”
“Finding a big 6-foot-5, 265-pound edge rusher that runs a 4.63, not that we put everything into times and measurements, that had solid production two years ago, when we feel like he has a chance to be even better than he was, it was hard to pass on,” Licht told reporters. “Everybody has their opinions on players based on mocks, but we base ours off the tape and our evaluations.”
The Bucs clearly found their guy. Now it’s time for him to find his way in the NFL.
So what’s next for Joe Tryon and the Bucs?
Contract negotiations, minicamps (hopefully), training camp, and then Week 1 of the regular season are all up next.
Expect Tryon to come in and immediately challenge Anthony Nelson for the third EDGE spot on the roster. He should also displace Cam Gill as the team’s fourth EDGE player on the roster.
How much playing time he receives in 2021 is still largely unknown, but a good -and realistic- goal is around 25-30% of snaps. If Tryon can be effective with that amount of snaps, then this pick is a success.
Way-too-early stat line prediction for 2021: 17 total tackles, 4.5 sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and three tackles for loss.