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Grading the Buccaneers Draft: Round 1

Round 1 Pick 13- Tristan Wirfs 

The Buccaneers traded up from the 14th pick to the 13th pick with the San Francisco 49ers to draft Tristan Wirfs. The standout tackle out of Iowa had a dominant junior season at Iowa, which earned him 2019 Second-Team Associated Press All-American and Big 10 Offensive lineman of the year.

According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed only two sacks, two quarterback hits, and three hurries for seven total pressures. This is very good performance, but cannot be completely relied on to transfer as he did play many weaker defenses.

At the Combine, Wirfs displayed his athleticism with a 4.85 40 yard dash, which was the fastest in the combine among guards and tackles. Wirfs also had the highest vertical jump among guards and tackles at 36.5 inches. He then followed that up with the longest long jump among guards and tackles at 121 inches.

I see Wirfs as someone who will be able to help Tampa as a day one starter if he starts as a right guard. Wirfs has all the physical gifts and has more than enough athleticism to play the tackle position, but his technique has room for much improvement. If Wirfs starts Week 1 at tackle, veteran NFL players will easily be able to expose his poor technique and land QB hits on a 42-year-old Tom Brady.

It will ultimately be up to head coach, Bruce Arians, and offensive line coach Joe Gilbert, on where Wirfs will play on the line Week 1 against the Falcons.

I feel confident in Gilbert’s ability to be able to further develop Wirfs over his rookie season. Afterall, Gilbert’s was able to coach guard Alex Cappa from barely playable to a solid starter. 

With the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, it is unclear if NFL franchises will be having a normal training-camp this year. If Covid-19 is still a force this summer, it will hurt the development of all rookies that the Bucs have signed. This may lead to Tampa Bay having to wait a few weeks for these rookies to play or having them put in too early when they are not prepared. This shouldn’t impact Wirfs too much, while he is not the most technically sound, he is still a starter on most NFL teams. 

Overall, I would say that this was a great pick from the Buccaneers. It has the potential to solidify the line and give Tom Brady the protection he needs.

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