A Bucs Best Bet and Pewter Report’s final prediction for Tampa Bay’s first round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Bucs selection of Washington OLB Joe Tryon at 32 overall was not a huge surprise. Recent rumors had the edge rusher’s stock climbing into the first round, despite an opt-out season that saw Tryon finish his college career with just nine sacks. But what we didn’t realize at the time was how close the Bucs were to passing on Tryon and other opt-out players altogether.

“Originally, I said we probably aren’t gonna take anyone that opted out,” Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said on the Pewter Report Podcast. “But then..well, wait a minute. Why did they opt out? Then you start looking at the players, start looking at the junior and sophomore tape and say ‘yeah, there’s some really, really good players that didn’t play this year, for whatever reason’. Joe was one of those guys. All you saw were the arrows going up. Every time you watched him you saw arrows going up.”

Washington edge rusher Joe Tryon

Washington edge rusher Joe Tryon

Tryon checked in at 6-5, 259 pounds with 34-inch arms at his pro day on March 30th. The chiseled edge defender proceeded to run a 4.68 40-yard dash at that size, before jumping 35 inches in the vertical and posting a 7.18 3-cone. The workout generated plenty of buzz in NFL circles, none more than in Tampa Bay’s front office, where Tryon skyrocketed up the Bucs draft board.

“His pro day workout was probably the kicker for me,” Arians said. “I thought after his pro day workout that he might have been the best outside [linebacker] in the draft.”

When Tampa Bay was finally on the clock at No. 32, it took GM Jason Licht and co. about 30 seconds to turn in their draft card. The decision was quickly followed by high fives and cheers all around, as the Bucs’ brass celebrated another addition to their championship roster.

“Well, it was about midnight,” Arians said, laughing as he recalled how quickly the team turned in their pick. “So we’re like ‘if he’s there bro, we’re taking him and we’re out of here. Let’s go get some sleep and do it again tomorrow’. But we were so excited that Joe was still there. We knew there were gonna be some outside [pass rushers] going right around that time in front of us (in the first round). We had [Tryon] really highly-rated and we’re really excited about having him on our team.”

Arians wasn’t kidding about the run on pass rushers near the bottom of the first round. Edge defenders came off the board at No. 28 to New Orleans, No. 30 to Buffalo and No. 31 to Baltimore, yet Tryon remained for the Bucs at No. 32. Tampa Bay considered all their options before selecting the Seattle native.

“We had three (players), we had three that we really, really liked (at No. 32 overall).” Arians said. “The thing for our football team right now, just making this team…trading back and maybe getting a fifth, sixth rounder, he’s probably not making our ball club. Might make our practice squad. So it was like, let’s get guys that can help us right now. Luckily we got the one we really wanted.”

Bucs OLB Joe Tryon

Bucs OLB Joe Tryon – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

One of the challenges of evaluating the Bucs draft class is recognizing that they weren’t necessarily trying to obtain the best players on the board like other teams were. Tampa Bay couldn’t, because the Bucs have no room on the roster for more high-end talent, save for a few positions. Once the draft moved into day 3, it was all about finding special teams contributors to fill out the bottom of the roster. None of the team’s four day 3 picks appear to be locks to make the final roster at this time.

“Jason and I were talking about it pre-draft,” Arians said. “If somebody wants to [trade up] what are we going to get? If we’re not getting a 3rd or 4th (round pick)…yeah that’s gonna be a practice squad guy for us.”

In a normal year, Tampa Bay would have considered trading down, something Licht has done twice in Round 1. But given the loaded nature of the Bucs roster, there really wasn’t room for additional day 3 picks to make the team. That knowledge allowed Tampa Bay to eliminate trade-down options and just choose the top player at a position of need. At No. 32 overall, there was little doubt in the draft room that Tryon was that player.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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BucLife
23 days ago

I am very curious who the other 2 players were that they were very high on at 32. Guys that would come to mind for me are Dickerson, JOK, Jenkins, maybe Campbell as well.

PissedOffBuc1988
23 days ago

Lol this article is coming from Jon Ledyard, who was pushing for Tampa to trade down out of that spot. This is why I’m not on the Jon Ledyard love train that a good portion of you are on.
Arians and Licht know what there doing. I’ll trust the real experts.

eaustinyoung
Reply to  PissedOffBuc1988
23 days ago

Yeah his takes are head scratchers but he’s the broke clock that’s right twice a day so everyone thinks he’s great.

gcolerick
Reply to  eaustinyoung
23 days ago

I’m sure he speaks highly of you two armchair football geniuses.

eaustinyoung
Reply to  gcolerick
22 days ago

Very original

PissedOffBuc1988
Reply to  gcolerick
21 days ago

LoL so me saying “Arians and Licht know what they’re doing. I’ll trust the real experts” qualifies me as an “arm chair football genius”?….. hahaha zaaaawing!

Joseph
Reply to  PissedOffBuc1988
23 days ago

Lol he was just reporting on the tidbits he got from the the Arians interview on the podcast

ManchesterBucc
Reply to  PissedOffBuc1988
22 days ago

You’re not pissed-off, just bitter and chippy. Ledyard is a journalist who gives reasoned opinions we don’t have to agree with. Arians says he and Licht discussed trading down but in their circumstances decided against it. Go back into the basement.

PissedOffBuc1988
Reply to  ManchesterBucc
22 days ago

No, I’m just someone who calls bs And Ledyard has a lot of it. As for my username, Actually, when I changed my name is when Tampa started to real off those victories. Sometimes change is needed. so no, I’m not “pissed off” or bitter just because I don’t think much of Ledyard.. It’s a user name. Don’t look too much into it.

PissedOffBuc1988
Reply to  ManchesterBucc
21 days ago

How’s man u doing these days?

ManchesterBucc
Reply to  PissedOffBuc1988
20 days ago

As a Manchester City fan I couldn’t give a stuff. My Manchester team just won 5-0 today and won the league and are in the Champions League final next week. I only get to see TB Bucs live once a season (in normal times), but am lucky enough to live 7 miles from the best soccer club team in the world. Manchester United (glazer owned) were second in the league and are in the UEFA Cup final in a week or so. Let’s put it this way – City fans think the Glazers are great and United fans don’t, to… Read more »

PissedOffBuc1988
Reply to  Jon Ledyard
21 days ago

You by that point had already bashed pretty much any player that would have been available. Look, I get that youre just reporting what was said in an interview, I just think it’s funny that you’re the one reporting it. You were the biggest advocate of trading back. And no, your opinion was still coming even as players were being resigned. So it wasn’t until what? 21 of the 22 players that got resigned that finally made you reconsider? That’s called being late to the party. Reynolds had Tryon for the longest. I live Scott because while he’s not perfect,… Read more »

AL121976
23 days ago

I was all about trading back but in my mind, it would have to have been for a 1st or a 2nd next year. If no one was going to put that up, it makes sense to draft where they did. I really like this years draft, I think they did a hell of a job and I have more faith in Licht than I ever have. Licht’s biggest and best signing was Bucco Bruce Arians = LFG

toofamiliar17
Reply to  AL121976
23 days ago

Agreed. The likely trade back scenarios that appealed to me involved obtaining high picks for next year’s draft. Because yea, I didn’t see a ton of value for a team in our position to move back and pick up day 3 picks this season. No real reason to do it.

sunshineben
23 days ago

i thought they should have traded back to get picks for the next year. Seems to me Bucs will need extra help after this year just because of the age of some players and end of the contracts for others ..

aredsoxfan1
Reply to  sunshineben
23 days ago

I agree trading back for next year would have been a good option under the right scenario. However, I think the consensus among NFL teams was next year’s draft would be better than this year so I don’t think many teams were interested. You gotta have a partner to make a trade.

Kimba
23 days ago

wonder why Licht did not trade up–get a really talented guy to make the team for sure

toofamiliar17
Reply to  Kimba
23 days ago

Clearly, he and the rest of them think that Tryon is THAT dude. I mean, Arians said he thought he might be the best edge rusher in the draft. I think he’s crazy and disagree with him completely, but if you believe that and think (correctly) that that guy is going to fall to you at 32, why would you give up extra draft capital to move up and take the same guy?

Ron Potter
23 days ago

If they would’ve traded down, I think our team liked Ojulari. Maybe even Barmore in a trade-down scenario.

Last edited 23 days ago by Ron Potter
fredster
22 days ago

Trading back is rarely good option and getting extra 5th round or later is dumb. Arians explained why they likely wouldn’t even make this roster. Trading up is usually dumb too and you give up way too much unless you need a QB and there is a franchise type pick available by trading up. You mortgage your future though. I’m glad they picked where they did but if I’m honest hard to get excited about this draft. Tryon who barely played lately and bum knee already, Trask with weak arm and was odd pick to me. As aways time will… Read more »

scubog
Reply to  fredster
21 days ago

I’ve always thought grading a Draft was a ridiculous endeavor. How is something graded when even the grader doesn’t yet know the answer? It’s merely one of thousands of meaningless opinions. One no more valid than the next.

Me, I haven’t forgotten the days when we were relying on even the later rounders to be the saviors. Of course there were so many times when we had traded away the premium picks, even the first overall netting a big zouch.

As you said, “time will tell”. It’s just not saying much right now.