Next season will be an important one for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Coming off of an 8-9 season in 2022, the Bucs will have plenty to look out for before they kick off against the Minnesota Vikings in September. They will have to see how some of the team's newer faces, including quarterback Baker Mayfield and running back Chase Edmonds, will fit in with the roster. The Bucs will have to find a new starting quarterback after Tom Brady announced his retirement in February. And they will need to sort out their depth at the wide receiver and the guard spots.

Who is one surprise player who could make or break the Buccaneers' 2023 NFL season?

Joe Tryon-Shoyinka

Tryon-Shoyinka, a former first-round pick out of Washington, has played in 34 games and started in 22 since Tampa Bay selected him with the 32nd pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. He played in 17 games and started in 16 for the Buccaneers in 2022, earning 40 tackles, 14 quarterback hits, six tackles for loss, four sacks and two pass deflections.

Bucs General Manager Jason Licht had high expectations for the 24-year-old linebacker on Wednesday.

“Joe has had some flashes, he's had some good games, he's shown us why we took him in the first round, but he does need to take a step up,” Licht said, via Senior Writer Scott Smith. “He needs to step it up this year and we're confident that he will.”

The former Washington Husky will still have to improve a few parts of his game before the start of the 2023 season, as highlighted by Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles on Wednesday.

“For me, Joe has to finish at the top of the rush,” Bowles said, via Smith. “He beats linemen, and he either slips down or falls off the quarterback because he's launching too early and not running through the quarterback. He has to take those extra two steps. He left a lot of sacks out there last year; not that he didn't get back there, but he didn't finish the play.”

Tryon-Shoyinka will join a Buccaneers defense that features defensive tackle Vita Vea, two-time Pro Bowl linebacker Shaquil Barrett and safety Antoine Winfield Jr. Bucs linebacker Devin White requested a trade in April. Tampa Bay added Pittsburgh defensive lineman Calijah Kancey, Louisville defensive end YaYa Diaby and Eastern Michigan edge rusher Jose Ramirez via the 2023 NFL Draft.

Tryon-Shoyinka and some of the team's new and returning edge rushers will need to help jumpstart a Buccaneers pass rush that earned a Pro Football Focus rating of 64.3 in 2022. The figure put them at 29th in the NFL behind the Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints. Tampa Bay's overall defensive rating of 67.6 put it at 20th in the league behind the Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins.

Tryon-Shoyinka ended the 2022 season with a pass-rushing grade of 63.4, putting him on par with San Francisco 49ers defensive end Jordan Willis and Green Bay Packers defensive end Preston Smith at about 313th in the NFL. His run defense rating of 63.2 put him at around 399th in the PFF rankings.

If Tryon-Shoyinka can take the leap Licht believes he can and be a solid option alongside the rest of the line, the Bucs can take one step closer to revitalizing their defense and continuing their runs in the NFL playoffs.