The Bucs went into the draft looking to upgrade at right tackle and they’ve addressed the team’s most pressing need, selecting offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs out of Iowa in the first round. Tampa Bay moved up one spot from 14 to the 13 pick in a trade with the 49ers, giving away their 14th pick and the 117th to get him.
PewterReport’s Jon Ledyard wrote about Wirfs in his 2020 NFL Draft Top 15 Offensive Tackle Rankings.
Wirfs is one of the best pure athletes to ever play the position, but I wouldn’t say that his athleticism is quite as functional as Wills’. He’s obviously no slouch, but I didn’t consistently see the elite explosiveness or fleet-footed re-directs on Wirfs tape that I saw in Wills. The Iowa right tackle is still a strong mover who should excel against speed rushers as he refines his set point range, while also having the power to bring defenders to a standstill with a single punch.
The best way to describe Wirfs’ game is smooth or finesse, which is ironic considering he’s more powerful than almost everyone who lines up across from him. When he lands his hands in pass protection, it’s deadly, but when he doesn’t and opponents get into his chest, he gives more ground against bull rushes than you’d like. Oversets can plague him as they do with many young tackles, but his inside hand stays pretty strong against counters.
In the run game, Wirfs has flashes of annihilating opponents, but his fire doesn’t burn constantly like Wills’ or Becton’s, and his finishing can be up-and-down as a result. That isn’t a big deal to me, as Wirfs still generally gets the job done when his technique is on point. His ability to play in a zone or gap scheme at the next level is a big boost to his stock, but I think he’ll be an ideal target for zone-heavy attacks over the other top tackles in the class.
Watch Wirfs’ Iowa highlight video below.
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