Tampa Bay Buccaneers first-round pick Joe Tryon showed dominant potential in his preseason appearance. The true test will come for the Buccaneers rookie when he goes against starting caliber offensive tackles.
Let’s get this out of the way. This is in no way saying that Tryon should be playing ahead of Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul. Pierre-Paul was somehow the Buccaneers only Pro Bowler in 2020, and statistically Shaq Barrett has been the best pass rusher in the NFL since coming to Tampa Bay. Surely this was already known, but you never know. Just covering bases.
Tryon was already turning heads in camp, and that seemed to carry over to the preseason. It’s hard to deny that the rookie pass-rusher looked dominant out there in the Buccaneers preseason opener against the Cincinnati Bengals. It’s also impossible to deny that he was going up against backups. His first step off the snap is something to behold, which will certainly come in handy when it comes to playing on Sundays. The thing is, it’s easy to overreact in the preseason, especially as it pertains to rookies due to the excitement of seeing them for the first time. Tryon, as a first round pick, is supposed to look dominant against backups. That should be normal. What would be more concerning, is if he did not. While overreacting to preseason play is natural, poor performances tend to speak louder than dominant ones.
If the Buccaneers want Tryon to fully achieve his potential, and it’s safe to say that they do, Tryon will need to start getting reps both in camp and in preseason games against starting tackles as soon as possible. Coming into the draft, Tryon was seen as a bit of a raw prospect and a project, primarily due to him opting out of the 2020 season at the University of Washington. He will need to develop pass-rushing skills at the NFL level, and won’t be able to rely on pure speed bursting off the snap and simply run around NFL tackles. Luckily, he’ll have Barrett and JPP as mentors playing ahead of them, two of the best pass rushers the Buccaneers have had in recent memory. You really can’t ask for a better situation for a rookie pass rusher to step into.
Joe Tryon should absolutely contribute for the Buccaneers in 2021 and beyond. However, before we start anointing him as the next Simeon Rice, Lee Roy Selmon, or even Chidi Ahanotu, he will need to get his feet wet in the pool of starting offensive lineman at the NFL level. Buccaneers fans are hoping he’s the heir to pass-rushing throne, but first we need to ensure that he is as prepared as possible when trying to get in the castle.