Tristan Wirfs slipped a little bit in the 2020 NFL Draft as multiple outlets expected him to land in the top-10. He went No. 13 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and immediately made an impact on the offensive line.
Wirfs was one of the NFL’s best offensive linemen as a rookie and continued that performance into the playoffs as the Bucs’ offensive line played a huge role in Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl run. Wirfs and the rest of the Buccaneers’ offensive line were tasked with protecting Tom Brady, and they did fairly well in helping bring a Super Bowl to Tampa Bay.
On Thursday, CBS Sports released Top-25 NFL players under the age of 25, and Wirfs was tabbed at No. 12 on the list.
“Rookie tackles don’t always fare well out of the gate, but Wirfs was an absolute anchor on a line that helped keep Tom Brady upright for yet another Super Bowl run,” wrote CBS Sports. “The Iowa product used his mammoth size to his advantage, never once missing a snap on the right side, and has the upside to be one of the NFL’s best at his position for the next decade or so.”
Wirfs has certainly lived up to the hype this year for Tampa Bay, according to his head coach, Bruce Arians.
“People were saying, ‘hey, you just moved up one spot,’ but we said that we didn’t know who else was going to trade up for him,” Arians said in February. “We had him ranked the highest guy. He’s been nothing but a dream come true for us. He’s a very mature young man. Great athlete. Took the bull by the horns and has done a good job blocking just about everyone in front of him.”
“I thought he should’ve been in the Pro Bowl,” Arians said before the Wild Card round. “He’s a guy that’s given up one sack all season as a rookie — it’s unbelievable. When we run behind him, there’s a lot of movement, so you couldn’t ask anything more of a rookie offensive lineman, for sure.”
Kirk Ferentz also chimed in on Wirfs’ success.
“You think about what Tristan has done playing-wise, one nice thing about our schedule this year, I’ve had a chance to watch more pro football than normal probably,” Ferentz said in February. “Didn’t get to see much in December, obviously, but since our season ended, been able to watch him. And when you think about it, just how fortunate he is, first of all, to be picked to a team that had the potential to have that kind of success. Throw on top of it, he’s playing with arguably the greatest quarterback and maybe one of the greatest players ever to play football. No pressure there, I guess, right: Quarterback; break tackle. But I think the best thing is he’s helped them achieve the level they have achieved at.
“The good news for him is he’s just going to keep getting better. He’s got tremendous potential still.”
Wirfs’ rookie season is even more impressive when you consider the competition he went against. Wirfs battled on a weekly basis with the likes of Cam Jordan, Aaron Donald, Joey Bosa, and Khalil Mack. Of course, there was one moment where Mack threw Wirfs to the ground, but for most of the matchup, he held his own.
As Ferentz mentioned, the ceiling continues to rise for Wirfs, and he could have an even better second year in the NFL.
Get 30% off an annual membership! Take advantage now and be the first to know everything going on regarding Iowa football, basketball, and recruiting! Plus, interact with other passionate Hawkeye fans! Click Here!