Buccaneers select LB Joe Tryon with last pick of first round

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TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have selected Washington linebacker Joe Tryon in the first round of the NFL draft, No. 32 overall.

A team with no glaring needs after keeping the core of the roster together in free agency, the Super Bowl champions are looking to add young players who’ll have time to develop while Tom Brady and a deep, talented roster try to become the first club to win consecutive NFL titles since the 2003 and 2004 New England Patriots.

Tryon opted out of playing at Washington last season due to the coronavirus pandemic, but is an outstanding pass rusher who eventually will be counted to make a relentless pass rush spearheaded by Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul even better.

With all 22 starters returning for next season, the Bucs entered the draft without any weaknesses that needed to be addressed with their top pick.

That’s uncharted territory for a franchise that missed the playoffs 12 consecutive seasons before signing Brady in free agency in March 2020 and assembling an all-star roster that helped the 43-year-old quarterback win his seventh Super Bowl title in February.

General manager Jason Licht and coach Bruce Arians defied the odds of retaining all of the team’s key players by placing the franchise tag on receiver Chris Godwin, signing linebackers Shaquil Barrett and Lavonte David to multi-year contracts and bringing back tight end Rob Gronkowski, running back Leonard Fournette, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and receiver Antonio Brown on one-year deals.

Kicker Ryan Succop also re-signed, and Licht also navigated a tight salary cap situation to hold on to a number of reserves who could have left via free agency, too.

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Fred Goodall, The Associated Press