The Buccaneers already knew what they had when they drafted Joe Tryon-Shoyinka with the 32nd overall pick back in April. It didn't take long for Tryon-Shoyinka to show what he can do, either.
The former Washington Huskie had his knee scoped before the draft and had to be eased into the Bucs' offseason program, but he was able to hit the ground running once he got going.
And his teammates immediately noticed.
“Joe is going to be amazing," Jason Pierre-Paul said during the second week of training camp. "He’s doing stuff that I’m looking at and thinking, ‘Man, I wish I would of knew that when I was a rookie.’ He’s doing amazing stuff out there. Me and (Shaquil Barrett) were just talking about him on the sideline while watching him go at it with the tools. I told Shaq, ‘He’s going to be the difference maker for us.’ He’s been moving since day one when he got here. From there to now, he’s been moving tremendously.”
"The way he bends – it took me a while for me to know how to bend and stuff like that. The way he grasps the plays and stuff, he's there. He just needs to be sharpened up a little bit. All we can do is just teach him."
The plan from the beginning was to have Tryon on the field as much as possible, but finding the time would be tough considering how much time Pierre-Paul and Shaquil Barrett spend on the field.
But thanks to an unfortunate shoulder injury suffered by JPP, Tryon-Shoyinka just finished his second start in the NFL. The injury has turned out to be a bittersweet development, however. This is because Tryon-Shoyinka has just as many sacks (2) as he does NFL starts under his belt.
Tryon-Shoyinka is also in the top-echelon of production when compared with his draftmates at the EDGE position. Per Pro Football Focus, he is tied for the fifth-most pressures (6) and the fourth-most sacks (1) out of a true pass set. He's fourth with two quarterback hits and sixth in both pass rush production (10%) and pass rush win rate (22.9%).
"He is fun to watch," Bruce Arians told reporters on Monday. "He's got a ton of talent and he plays really, really hard – hard and fast. He's one of those guys, too, he's just going to get better and better the more he understands the pro game and that speed isn't always the rush. Power sometimes helps more. He's got both those things. I think he's just going to get better and better."
Tryon-Shoyinka's two sacks against the Patriots were instrumental in the team's win, but once again, it shouldn't be a surprise that he was able to make key plays during the game. Again, the Bucs knew Tryon-Shoyinka would be on the field making plays before the season even started.
"I told him today that he's going to be one of the key guys that helps us get back to the Super Bowl," Pierre-Paul said back in September. "I think he's going to be one of the big keys."
It's not just about this year, though. Tryon-Shoyinka is also a big key to the Bucs' future. With JPP in the final year of his contract and 32-years-old, the Bucs are going to need someone to eventually take over. And when you combine that with how much Barrett is making, the Bucs need said someone to be relatively affordable, which is another benefit Shoyinka provides to the team.
And if you follow the Bucs, you know how crucial the pass rush is to the overall success of the defense. And you know how crucial the overall defense was to last year's Super Bowl run. This won't change anytime soon.
But right now, there is no need to worry about the future of the Bucs pass rush, because it is in good hands with Tryon-Shoyinka.
And so is the present.