Film Study: What Edge Rusher Joe Tryon Brings to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

With the 32nd pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Buccaneers opted to take Joe Tryon, an outside linebacker from the University of Washington.
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Photo: Joe Tryon; Credit: Washington Huskies

As the clock hit midnight on the East coast, Roger Goodell took the podium and announced the Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers had chosen Joe Tryon, an edge defender from the University of Washington, with the No. 32 pick in the first round. Once the clock struck midnight, it was officially Tryon's 22nd birthday. 

Talk about a birthday present. 

Tryon got an early start to draft preparation after opting out of the 2020 season in August of last year. Back in 2019, Tryon posted a strong sophomore performance of eight sacks, 12.5 tackles for loss and 41 tackles in 13 games. 

In terms of physical attributes, there is a lot to like with Tryon. According to Raw Athletic Score testing, Tryon rated as a 9.29 out of 10, finishing 98th among 1371 prospects since 1987. Tryon especially tore up the 40-yard dash, clocking a 4.68 time. 

On film, Tryon's speed sticks out, making him a very noticeable prospect that can get all over the field in a split second. Because of his quickness, Tryon will be able to play in coverage when asked. His hands are freakishly good, and he disengages with contact early when being blocked on his best reps. On his best reps, Tryon has strength that allows him to bully tackles by alienating them so he can blow by or power through to get to the quarterback. Tryon often utilizes an epic swim move if he doesn't win with brute force or speed. 

On his not-so-good reps, he comes off the ball high and gets in hand fights with tackles, not being able to bend or get around the tackle. Tryon gets stonewalled when double-teamed. When taking on a lot of contact, Tryon takes a step back as he is more of a finesse guy rather than a power rusher. 

In the run game is where Tryon will need the most work, as he is inconsistent when setting the edge. Despite his pronounced pass-rushing skills and ability to beat tackles on the edge, he struggles to get off blockers in the run game. 

General manager Jason Licht called Tryon a "luxury pick," pointing out Tryon's lateral quickness and footwork. "He's going to be a very versatile guy for us."

Tryon, a six-foot-five, 259 pound outside linebacker will fill in as a depth piece behind Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaq Barrett, taking his rookie season to learn and develop behind two of the league's best. When talking to Tampa Bay media after the pick, Tryon understood what the Bucs are asking of him, saying "I'm going to be a sponge. Those are two big-time players."

Licht made it known that Tryon's development won't be rushed, allowing him to further his NFL prowess at his own pace. 

"He has the luxury of not being out there right away, and be a starter right away, or be a major contributor right away. We'll take our time with him, and when he's ready to be out there he'll be out there playing a role." 

After meeting with the Bucs multiple times, the mutual interest led to the Bucs eventually drafting Tryon after they said they would take him if he were available at 32. Additionally, the Bucs continue on their Washington connections, pairing Tryon with former college teammate Vita Vea, who was drafted by Tampa in 2018. Fellow former Husky Benning Potoa'e is also on the roster.

Expectations for Tryon's rookie year are low, but Tampa Bay would benefit from getting him in the rotation against some NFL-caliber tackles on third down, allowing Barrett and Pierre-Paul to get some well-deserved reps off. Letting Tryon get NFL experience is vital, and that number of snaps her game could start as low as 10 on strictly passing downs to tool himself as an NFL pass rusher. 

At pick 32, Tampa was able to build depth and found a prospect they valued highly at what could be a position of need next offseason. With Pierre-Paul growing older and yet no less expensive, Tryon could take over for him down the line with his pass-rushing capabilities and pure burst off the ball. Tyron shows promise on his best reps but could use some development and some time to bulk up to be the best version of himself at the next level.