There are a few things that I look for when trying to identify breakout fantasy players. Youth, talent, and an increased role. Second year players with high draft capital usually experience an increase in playing time and production. These players have had a year to adjust to the NFL, and their teams feel more confident playing them in major roles. A player that fits this model is Tampa Bay Buccaneers Edge Rusher Joe Tryon-Shoyinka.
Key & Diagnose
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted Edge Rusher Joe Tryon-Shoyinka with the last pick of the 1st round in the 2021 NFL Draft. He was an interesting selection at that point in the 1st round and viewed as a future replacement for the aging veteran Jason Pierre-Paul. He was viewed as one of the best Edge Rushers in the Draft despite only having one productive season in his college career. His breakout came in his redshirt sophomore season where he had 41 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, and 8 sacks. He was selected 2nd team All-Pac 12 conference during that season. He sat out the entire 2020 season due to the COVID19 pandemic before entering the NFL Draft in 2021.
Expectations weren’t very high for Tryon-Shoyinka in his rookie season. Not with the Bucs coming off a Super Bowl run and looking to repeat. The Bucs also had two Pro Bowl Edge Rushers, Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul ahead of him on the depth chart. He began his rookie season in a reserve role and played mostly on Special Teams the first two games of the season. However, JPP suffered a shoulder injury after week 2 and Tryon-Shoyinka made starts in weeks 3 and 4. Tryon-Shoyinka flashed his upside in a Week 4 start against the New England Patriots compiling 2 tackles, 2 sacks, and 4 QB hits. JPP returned to the lineup week 5 and Tryon-Shoyinka returned to a reserve role for most of the season. He finished his rookie season with 29 total tackles and 4 sacks while playing on 49% of the team’s defensive snaps.
The Bucs will be facing a very challenging off-season with the retirement of Hall of Fame QB Tom Brady and several notable players set to hit free agency. They will have to be vigilant on which players they choose to re-sign due to their position against the salary cap. The Bucs are projected to have just under $7 million of salary cap space this off-season according to spotrac.com. One of their most notable free agents is Edge Rusher Jason Pierre-Paul.
There are many factors that make it unlikely that JPP will be back in Tampa next season. He is coming off one of the most disappointing seasons of his career. In fact, JPP was outplayed by Tryon-Shoyinka last season. JPP only had 2.5 sacks, 14 QB hurries, and 5 QB hits despite playing on 74% of the team’s defensive snaps. In contrast, Tryon-Shoyinka had 4 sacks, 17 QB hurries, and 10 QB hits despite playing well behind JPP. It’s notable that he did play through a torn rotator cuff for most of the season. However, JPP is 33 yrs old and he hasn’t been a picture of health the past two seasons.
New Look Defense?
The Bucs defense could look drastically different next season with JPP, Calton Davis, Jordan Whitehead, and Ndamukong Suh all hitting free agency. Beat reporters have speculated that the Bucs will look to retain Davis and Whitehead, who are younger players still in their prime. However, JPP and Suh are older veterans who are past their primes. The Bucs will be better served retooling their defense with younger players under cheaper contracts.
I’m projecting the Bucs to move forward with Shaquil Barrett and Tryon-Shoyinka as their starting Edge Rushers next season. There’s no need for the Bucs to re-sign JPP with the emergence of Tryon-Shoyinka and 3rd year Outside Linebacker Anthony Nelson. Nelson had a strong finish to end the season, as he racked up 5 sacks in his last 9 games. Nelson is only 24 years old and he’s still under his rookie contract.
Tryon-Shoyinka will be entering the 2022 season with much higher expectations. He will more than likely enter next season as a full-time starter. The Bucs will be counting on him to be a key contributor to their pass rush next season. His upside is very intriguing considering that the Bucs have been one of the league’s top defensive units the past two seasons under DC Todd Bowles.
The Bucs had the 7th most sacks last season with 47 total sacks. They also had the highest blitz rate of any team by a sizable margin. The Edge Rushers have had huge success in this defensive scheme. Shaquil Barrett had a league leading 19.5 sacks in 2019. These factors are a huge reason why I’m expecting a breakout fantasy season for Tryon-Shoyinka in 2022. I’m targeting him aggressively in Big Play IDP leagues. Don’t sleep on Joe Tryon-Shoyinka in your IDP Fantasy Football drafts.