Buccaneers add depth at linebacker with Joe Tryon

The clock struck midnight just as the Buccaneers turned in their pick to wrap up round one of the NFL draft early Friday morning.

Joe Tryon, the linebacker from Washington, is the newest member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

I thought the Bucs would go defense with their first pick adding depth to the defensive line and at edge rusher rather than linebacker.

It was a mild surprise when I heard Joe Tryon’s name called.

While it is true, the Bucs need some good depth at linebacker. Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul will be the starters at outside linebacker this season. This may be a year of watching and learning for Joe Tryon.

What was even more surprising in the pick of Tryon was that the Bucs left three other players on the board rated higher by almost all the scouting services than Joe Tryon.

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah from Notre Dame, Azeez Ojulari from Georgia, and Joseph Ossai from Texas were all on the board when the Bucs were ready to pick.

Tryon did not play this past year as he opted out last August and began training for the draft.

Tryon is 6’4″, 265 pounds, and ran a 4.5/40 at his pro day at Washington. He was also a teammate with defensive tackle Vita Vea his first year at Washington.

Tryon knew his stock would fall a bit sitting out the 2020 season but said that was a risk he was willing to take. “I knew not playing would affect me not getting picked high, But I’m not worried about getting picked high. I’m worried about finding the right place, and I did in Tampa Bay. I’m ready to get back to real football.”

In 2019, Tryon had 41 tackles, 12.5 tackles for losses, and had eight sacks.

Jason Licht talked with the media about the selection of Tryon and was delighted to make Tryon a Buccaneer. “We had a pretty good sense of who was going to come off and who was going to be there. 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.”

With Azeez Ojulari and Joseph Ossai still on the board, Licht felt that Tryon was the right fit for the Buccaneers. “We obviously thought he was a better fit for us. Finding a big 6-foot-5, 265-pound edge rusher that runs a 4.63 was hard to pass on. Everybody has their opinions on players based on mocks, but we base ours off the tape and our evaluations.”

Tryon is ready to get work and learn behind Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul. “I’m going to be a sponge, dude. Those dudes are some really big-time players. They’ve been playing at a high level for the past decade. I can’t wait to soak all that in and just learn from them. It’s a big-time opportunity.”

Tryon said that he feels his game compares best to that of Chandler Jones. Their size is similar, and Jones played under Arians in Arizona for two years earning All-Pro honors and collecting 17 sacks in 2017.

Tryon should be able to contribute as a pass-rush specialist right away. Although his strength is rushing the passer, Tryon feels that he has a balanced game.

“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. With my versatility, I fit any scheme. Drop me in coverage. I’m an all-around player.”

The Bucs have Anthony Nelson and Cam Gill as depth at linebacker, and Licht mentioned in his press conference that they like both players.

The Bucs will have the luxury of bringing Tryon along at their own pace as Barrett and Pierre-Paul are in no danger of losing their starting jobs.

The NFL draft continues tonight with rounds two and three beginning at 7:30 PM.

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