The first pick of the NFL draft for each team one of the biggest decisions it will make in the offseason and offers a chance to immediately make the roster better. That usually comes with the weight of heavy expectations, as a result.
And despite being touted for his power coming out of college, that's a weight that former University of Washington Husky Joe Tryon won't have to bear right away.
Tryon is coming into a unique situation with the Buccaneers – and not just because they are the defending Super Bowl Champions. They also returned all starters from the roster that got them the Lombardi Trophy. Any newcomers are essentially a bonus – and will have to fight for any playing time they do get their first year.
One of the ways Tryon can improve his chances is being versatile. Or so the coaches told him ahead of this weekend's rookie minicamp. Tryon said he's now focused on learning the interior positions along the defensive line, along with his designated outside linebacker position.
The good news is that this isn't new for Tryon. While he was effective mostly off the edge in college, Washington had him line up inside with his hand in the dirt, as well. Spoiler alert: he was effective there, too. Tryon can act as an extension of the defensive line just as easily as he can be a pure pass rusher that comes screaming around the opposing tackle to get to the quarterback. He can fool you, too, because he can come out of two and three-point stances from either position.
"I'm pretty comfortable with both depending on the situation," said Tryon. "Down and distance, all that definitely comes into play. I feel like I'm well versed in both and a three-point stance is definitely something I'd like to be in on third downs. It's just all based on the scenario."
That versatility and knowledge is kind of the name of the game for Bucs' outside linebackers. You see both Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaq Barrett in various positions with various responsibilities all along the front. Heck, JPP even had two interceptions in 2020 while dropping into coverage.
Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles is famous for creating confusion and the front isn't exempt from that goal. It's why you see Barrett and Pierre-Paul lining up on the interior while defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Vita Vea flank them on either side. Or why even when one of the outside linebackers lines up in a traditional wide alignment, they'll end up crossing the opposing offensive lineman's face to attack inside. If Tryon is going to maintain those inside rushing moves he learned at Washington and take a step forward anywhere, it's likely going to be while learning from those two.
"They're really respectable dudes in the league and at the top of the top of the league in their positions," said Tryon of Pierre-Paul and Barrett. "I'm definitely familiar with them. It's going to be a blessing to be in the same room with them, learn from them, play with them and get after the quarterback with them."
And while he may have those two notorious pass rushers ahead of him, Tryon isn't letting that affect his mindset coming into this team. He's up for helping however he can and being patient until he gets into the rotation, but his preparation won't reflect that of a rotational role.
"At the same time, I'm still preparing like I'm the other starter," said Tryon. "You never know when your number is going to be called."
Tryon had a minor knee procedure before minicamp this weekend, so he wasn't able to participate in on-field drills, according to Head Coach Bruce Arians. He remained outside with the coaches and his position-mates during the team's first practice on Friday and will work with Bucs trainers while he learns the defensive system in the classroom.