Drafting an edge rusher of the future may just be the ticket for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Let’s first note that the Buccaneers will most likely draft the best player available. If one of the two best running backs are available at 32, they may pounce on one of them. HOWEVER, most likely, the Bucs will be drafting the best defensive player available. Shoring up the defensive line and linebackers for the future may just be the route the Bucs explore.
Jason Pierre-Paul may be playing for another year or two, or may even try his best Tom Brady impression and saddle up for another couple of years. Beyond him and Shaq Barrett, who is wrapped up for the next four, the Bucs need some developmental depth pieces behind them.
Currently, the Buccaneers have Quinton Bell and Cam Gill, both of whom have seen little playing time, and Anthony Nelson, who is probably the next most experienced outside linebacker on the roster but hasn’t quite lived up to his billing. Now that may change, but as of now his future seems to be in question. Can he be the Carl Nassib type player we all were hoping for? It’s possible.
As for Bell and Gill, they have yet had the opportunity to prove themselves, and the way things go in the NFL, there’s always someone gunning for your job. Enter the 2021 draft, and we have ourselves some edge guys who could possibly get snagged by the Bucs. None of these three we are focusing on are necessarily starters from day one but have the potential to make some waves in Tampa given some coaching to refine their attack. In no particular order of the Buccaneers’ preference:
Player #1 – Gregory Rousseau
Hailing from Miami, Rousseau is a polarizing player, where there are arguments for his draft stock being too high to be the Bucs #1 pick. With 19.5 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks in 2019, the numbers speak fairly loudly as to his capabilities. The problem, albeit maybe not an issue with proper coaching, with Rousseau is his rawness and lack of technique and will need to sit behind some veterans who can assist the coaching staff in developing his skills as he transitions to the NFL. If only there were some players and coaches on the Bucs who could mentor him!
The upside for him is his motor, his versatility, and speed. It almost seems like he’d be a great fit in a Todd Bowles defense. He seems to understand the game and could be a great addition to the Bucs defense and could develop into a starter once JPP hangs it up or roster spots open up. It’s unclear if the Bucs want him as a day one pick, but it’s the draft and we’ve seen some crazy stuff happen.
Player #2 – Joseph Ossai
The Texas Longhorn has the athleticism to grow into a formable edge rusher in the NFL. Again, similar to Rousseau, he could sit behind some of the Bucs greats and develop into the next Shaq Barrett, or JPP. With the endless motor of a JPP, he is comfortable in a 3-4, which bodes well in a Bowles defense, and has an innate feel for the game and making plays, either on or away from the ball.
Playing from either hand in the dirt, or standing, he still needs to develop the run stop portion of his skillset but can be the type of player to disrupt an offensive line by drawing attention away from the run block. Ossai would be a welcomed addition to the Bucs lineup, and could be there in round 2, although the Bucs may have to trade up for him if he falls that far.
Player #3 – Joe Tryon
Like fellow Huskie to current Buccaneer, Vita Vea, Tyron is could be a huge find for the Buccaneers first or second pick. He is better suited in a 4-3 but can play in a 3-4 as well, although a little coaching will be needed, that’s not something to stop Licht and company from drafting him. He is an NFL starting-caliber player and could vie for Anthony Nelson’s role right off the bat.
His flexibility is also quite appealing as he can bull rush from the outside as well as help in run stopping, and has a motor to rival JPP, and doesn’t stop until the play is over. He’s got a first-step explosion to his game similar to Shaq, and who wouldn’t love to have another Shaq on this team?
We’d fire our own cannons and drink plenty of grog in celebration of the Bucs drafting Joe Tryon, even with the first pick. He could easily set the Bucs up for the edge/oustide linebacker position for years to come. Ossai and Rousseau could also develop into that type of player, but for the luxury pick of BDPA, Tryon fits the bill quite nicely.