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NFL Draft Profile: Edge LB Joe Tryon

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Does the NFL care that you only had one good season?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 19 Oregon at Washington Photo by Christopher Mast/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

NFL brass has proven itself —over and over—to take a chance on players with a small body of work at the college level, and great upside. They also tend to reach for players in two key positions: Quarterback, and edge rusher. UW linebacker/DE Joe Tryon checks a lot of boxes, and is a guy who started this draft process as a late 2nd or 3rd round prospect. But as teams re-evaluate their needs, and consider what Tryon could be, don’t be shocked if he is taken earlier (maybe day one?) in the 2021 draft.

The 6’5” 264 pound Tryon played just 25 college games. That can be viewed as inexperience, but this is NFL evaluation where it’s seen as “just imagine how good he can be when he plays more.” Pass rush is always a need in the NFL, and Tryon has the physical tools, motor, and work ethic to be a disruptive edge at the pro level.

Key Pro Day stats:

Wingspan: 6’9”

Vertical Jump: 35”

40 yard Dash: 4.64, 4.69

Bench Press: 22x

3-Cone Drill: 7.18s

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College career

At Washington, Tryon showed tremendous burst and ability to get in the backfield during his 2018 redshirt freshman season, while playing sparingly in 12 games for the Huskies. We often wondered why he didn’t see more action, but his tendency to get sucked inside say “Oh shit, I have outside contain” found him on the sideline a lot as a frosh.

In 2019, Tryon really arrived as a pass rusher and a guy who was just too explosive and fast to block. He recorded 12.5 tackles for loss as a sophomore, including eight sacks. He was poised for a true season of dominance in 2020, but declared for the NFL Draft when the original 2020 season was scrapped.

While discipline and inexperience may be working against Tryon compared to other rush-end prospects, his high motor and great effort work for him. His inexperience shows up on tape every once in a while, even during the 2019 season —and his awareness isn’t always there— but Tryon plays really hard. When you watch #9 out there, you see him battling on every snap to make a play.

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The Good:

  • Great initial burst and straight-line speed
  • Attacks with a strong, aggressive bull-rush
  • Uses length and arms well
  • Versatile – can rush outside or inside; college scheme and physical traits suited to playing edge in a 4-3 or 3-4
  • Has the work ethic to improve, great motor

The Bad:

  • Needs more variety to his pass rush beyond a bull-rush or an arm-over move
  • Doesn’t bend and dip smoothly around blockers, needs to get lower
  • Breaks contain both as a pass rusher and as a run defender too often (sucked in on zone reads)
  • Needs to get stronger in lower body; tendency to lack a solid anchor when engaged in double teams
  • Just one full year of production

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Comparisons:

NFL Network’s Chad Reuter:

“His 2019 tape was good enough to show that he can emulate the career of Pro Bowl edge rusher Za’Darius Smith. He can play with his hand down or standing up on the edge which is a big plus for teams looking to mix up their fronts. … Quarterbacks find it difficult trying to elude Tryon because of his strength, closing speed and agility.”

Last Word on Sports’ Ross Crawford:

T.J. Watt had one year of elite production coming out of Wisconsin in 2017. There was little finesse to his pass rush; it was all initial burst, strength, raw aggression, and pursuit skills. That’s how Tryon plays the game, 100% attack all the time. Furthermore, he’s expected to run a 40-time in the low 4:70s, like Watt.

Draft Prediction:

Tryon is not the best edge prospect in this draft, but he might be the best raw athlete at the position, and he is the most explosive. He’s starting to look like a late first round choice, and possibly even higher if there is an early run on pass rushers.

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