Buccaneers draft Tristan Wirfs: Tampa Bay continues to come up aces during historic offseason


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could have put their entire 2020 draft on auto pick, selected a long list of punters to compete over the summer and still could have been in the discussion for having the best offseason out of any NFL club. Why? Because they landed Tom Brady in free agency and just acquired Rob Gronkowski in a trade with the Patriots after the tight end made it clear he’d specifically come out of retirement to play for them. Good times. 

Well, general manager Jason Licht didn’t go in that punter direction and rest on his laurels. Instead, he kept Tampa’s hot streak rolling by selecting former Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs after trading up one spot to the No. 13 overall selection. CBS Sports Senior NFL analyst Pete Prisco graded this selection at “B” and this should be looked at as a big win for Tampa Bay as it retools its offense around Tom Brady.

Wirfs has drawn comparisons to Eagles star lineman Lane Johnson and was a dominant force towards the end of last season as PFF notes he allowed just one pressure over his final seven games. He also has been praised for run-blocking ability. 

The 6-foot-4, 320 pounder fills a major need along a Buccaneers offensive line that did allow 40 sacks in 2019. According to Football Outsiders, that unit ranked 23rd in the league in pass protection, which isn’t exactly ideal when you just signed a quarterback who’ll be 43 years old by the time the 2020 season kicks off. While those marks against the Bucs’ O-line doesn’t put them in a positive light, the unit isn’t terrible. They ranked seventh in Pro Football Focus’ offensive line rankings and have a particularly strong collection of talent on the interior with center Ryan Jensen and left guard Ali Marpet. By bringing in Wirfs, who is looked at by some draft evaluators as the top tackle prospect in this draft, to play on the right side, this group has the potential to quickly turn things around and build a solid wall of protection for Brady. 

He became an obvious addition once he started to fall down the board, outside the top 10 and in Tampa’s range. The Bucs then wisely made it a point to be aggressive and make sure he landed in Tampa. Because of that, it’s no surprise to see them be “thrilled” about the pick. Tom Brady undoubtably feels the same way. 





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