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Bucs right tackle Tristan Wirfs played like a Pro Bowler in his first season in the NFL last year. This season, he wants to become a Pro Bowler.

After accomplishing the ultimate team goal – winning Super Bowl LV – as a rookie, Wirfs is focused on a more personal goal in 2021.

“One of the goals I wrote down – I do the sticky note thing, I’ve done it since high school where I’ll write something down and put it on my mirror so I see it every day – I was back at the Iowa weight room training this offseason and I see all these guys’ Pro Bowl jerseys up on the wall every day,” Wirfs said. “I’ve always wanted to be up on the wall in that building and have my name there. I thought it would be pretty cool to get a Pro Bowl jersey and be able to hang it up there. So to make the Pro Bowl would be one of my goals this year.”

Wirfs, who was the 13th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, started every game during his rookie season. He was one of the league’s best right tackles, making Pro Football Focus’ All-Rookie Team.

“Rookie offensive linemen aren’t supposed to come into the league and be as good as Wirfs has been in his first season. “His 82.2 overall PFF grade ranks second at the right tackle position behind only Jack Conklin, and Wirfs has earned that by going toe to toe with some of the best edge defenders in the league.”

Bucs RT Tristan Wirfs

Bucs RT Tristan Wirfs – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“Wirfs showed he could handle different styles of pass-rushers all season — holding each of Cameron Jordan, Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack, and Brian Burns to three or fewer pressures over 15-plus pass-blocking snaps. It’s hard to imagine things breaking better for the Buccaneers, who got what appears to be the top rookie tackle in a talented class as the fourth offensive tackle to come off the board in the 2020 NFL Draft.”

Wirfs isn’t going to rest on his laurels following a sensational rookie season. He’s been working with offensive line coach Joe Gilbert to make 2021 even better.

“I’m trying to stop off my toes when I’m run-blocking so I’m not getting all top heavy, leaning forward and falling over,” Wirfs said. “Coach Gilbert sent me some stuff to try to work on this offseason to help with that.”

Wirfs said that the pressure that comes from trying to keep legendary quarterback Tom Brady upright and healthy was quite the motivating factor during his first NFL season.

“Especially having Tom Brady back there – that’s always in your mind,” said Wirfs, who only gave up one sack as a rookie. “Making sure nobody comes close to him or gets near him. I remember he told us last year, ‘Don’t get beat fast and don’t get beat inside and we’ll be alright.’ I held on to that pretty tightly last year. It’s pretty cool having him back there.

“Tom is a very motivated person. To have him back there, he definitely brings the best out in us. You want to keep him safe. You don’t want anything to happen to him.”

Wirfs and his Bucs teammates aren’t going to let themselves get complacent after winning Super Bowl LV. Head coach Bruce Arians said that he didn’t sense any complacency during the first day of mandatory mini-camp on Tuesday.

“I don’t think nervous is the right word, but it’s always something you think about after you come off something good,” Wirfs said. “For me, something that [Iowa head coach Kirk] Ferentz always used to say that the hay is never in the barn,” Wirfs said. “You’re never there. You’ve never made it. You always have work to do.”

This season Wirfs is working on becoming a Pro Bowl right tackle en route to helping the Bucs defend their Super Bowl championship.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: sr@pewterreport.com
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Captain Sly
3 months ago

Barring Injury of course he’s a lock to make the pro bowl. Last tackle I can remember being this good right out the gate was Joe Thomas who retired way too early. Wirfs has been a breath of fresh air from the likes of guys named Demar Dotson or Godser Cherilus.

chefboho
3 months ago

Pro bowl? Shoot, we could be looking at All Pro from this stud. He couldn’t have done any better with all the restrictions in place last year. I remember people bitching about us moving up one spot to grab him. Regardless it would’ve been fine to jump 10 spots to pick this kid up. Hopefully he can stay healthy and anchor this lone for years to come. He’s an athletic freak for a guy his size.

FLBoy84
3 months ago

Love the attitude, drive and mindset. Home run pick from Licht who will likely be in the Paul Gruber category of best OL in Bucs history when all is said and done. THIS is a kid you don’t have reservations about signing long-term and making him a highest-paid or top-5 OT when the time comes (unlike another Bucs OT that comes to mind).

bucballer
Reply to  FLBoy84
3 months ago

He’s the Buc’s Anthony Munoz!

toucan
3 months ago

Great to see Wirfs have a great outlook and have lofty personal goals. Especially happy he was not drug into the grievance crowd and their negativity. There may be hope for the NFL after all.

TBChucky
3 months ago

Great pick.. Glad he’s a Buc!

bucballer
3 months ago

As I stated when he was drafted, Wirfs prototypical size, reach, demeanor has the potential to go down as the best offensive lineman the Bucs have ever had. No disrespect to the great Paul Gruber, who never had this type of team around him. I believe that Wirfs will get the national recognition that Gruber never really had. I still think about that pool video that was put out of Wirfs right before draft night. Some made fun of it… I was amazed at how a man so big could be so agile! I’m glad he’s a Buc and I… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by bucballer
scubog
3 months ago

There sure were a lot of naysayers when Licht selected the youngster. Especially when he felt the need to move up a spot. That sure got second guessed. Perhaps it’s a lesson for the folks who are so certain of their often ill-informed opinion, that they’ll at least tone down their outrage.

arizonajoe
3 months ago

Great article. I just want Wirfs to continue to improve. Don’t care about accolades. Great kid, work on getting better and hopefully avoid injury.

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