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Spotlight on Bucs’ Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, Logan Hall this season

With Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh apparently moving on from Tampa Bay, the defense will turn to its first picks in the past two NFL drafts.
Bucs defensive lineman Logan Hall (90) runs on the field during rookie minicamp earlier this month at AdventHealth Training Center in Tampa.
Bucs defensive lineman Logan Hall (90) runs on the field during rookie minicamp earlier this month at AdventHealth Training Center in Tampa. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published May 27|Updated May 28

TAMPA — Outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, two of the game’s best defensive players, are gone and apparently no longer in the Bucs’ plans for the 2022 season.

Second-year player Joe Tryon-Shoyinka and rookie Logan Hall, the Bucs’ first pick in the 2022 draft (33rd overall), will take over those important jobs.

It’s almost impossible to evaluate players on the line of scrimmage during noncontact drills like the ones being executed during organized team activities and the mandatory minicamp June 7-9.

But it’s hard to imagine two Bucs players who will be under more scrutiny to start the season.

Tryon-Shoyinka, who opted out of his final year at Washington in 2020, was the Bucs’ first-round pick a year ago. He was utilized in a variety of roles last season but mostly as a replacement for the oft-injured Pierre-Paul, who missed five games with a torn rotator cuff.

Tryon-Shoyinka finished with four sacks, 10 quarterback hits and five tackles for loss despite making only six starts. Coach Todd Bowles isn’t shy about heaping high expectations on him.

“Going into year two, we expect him to have the nuances down with a lot of the things he did last year and expect him to come into his own,” Bowles said. “I don’t expect him to be (Pierre-Paul). I expect him to be Joe. He has a skill set all on his own that he could be a good player.”

Outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett believes that Tryon-Shoyinka will take advantage of his opportunity to start and believes he could post 10 or more sacks.

“I think Joe could be a double-digit sack guy every year,” Barrett said. “I’m excited for him. In practice, I’m seeing him put the work in, so it’s just a matter of time for him to just get out there and get comfortable with it on a play-in, play-out basis, and then he’s going to take off.

“It could be the first game or the second game, but I have faith in him that he’s going to be making plays — not just sacks, but forced fumbles, tackles for loss, passing game — he’s going to really affect the game.”

Hall, at 6 feet 6 and 290 pounds, looks the part. His physical stature more closely resembles that of veteran defensive tackle William Gholston, who is coming off 4½ sacks last season.

Gholston also heaped enormous expectations on Hall after watching him for only a couple of weeks without pads.

“I haven’t seen him in pads. I don’t know why I’m so excited about him, but man, I see the dog in him,” Gholston told the “Pewter Report” podcast. “You really see the dog with the pads, but I see the dog, I see the fight. He is so big and slippery. He’s an even more athletic J.J. Watt in his prime.”

Britt standing out

With Lavonte David recovering from a Lisfranc injury, second-year pro K.J. Britt is taking a lot of repetitions in the offseason workout program at both inside linebacker positions.

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David, 32, is in the final year of his contract that pays him $12.5 million. The future of the linebacking corps could be Devin White and Britt.

“It’s great for (Britt) going into his second year, because he obviously has to learn ‘Mike’ (middle linebacker) and ‘Mo’ (weakside linebacker),” Bowles said. “So, he has to learn two spots right now, and he’s been here every day. He looks a lot faster than he was last year, so it’s been great for him. I look for big things from him this year.”

Britt played only 14.3% of the defensive snaps as a rookie but was a staple on special teams. He ran only 4.76 seconds in the 40-yard dash at his pro day. Due to his familiarity with the defense, he’s playing faster.

“Faster processing is a big thing,” Bowles said. “(Britt) could always play. But when he processes faster, he plays faster.”

Miller tries to regain his game

There was a time halfway through the 2020 Super Bowl season when Scotty Miller was the Bucs’ leading receiver in yards and catches. Last year he went on injured reserve with turf toe and played in only nine games. By the time he was able to return, receivers including Breshad Perriman and Cyril Grayson had emerged. Miller played only 135 offensive snaps, making five catches for 38 yards.

But during organized team activities this year, Miller has been running fast again and without pain. With Chris Godwin expected to miss the first part of the 2022 season recovering from a torn ACL, Miller will be fighting for the third receiver spot.

“He looks good,” Bowles said. “He’s in shape. He’s running fast. He’s doing all the right things right now. Knock on wood, hopefully that transfers to training camp and he doesn’t get hurt again.”

Contact Rick Stroud at rstroud@tampabay.com. Follow @NFLSTROUD.

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