Iowa has a reputation for producing quality offensive lineman, and Tristan Wirfs is the next Hawkeye up in the 2020 NFL Draft. The Big Ten's Offensive Lineman of the Year last season, Wirfs was rock-solid at right tackle but has the skill set needed to shift over to the left side or could develop into an every-week starter at guard. Wherever he ends up, the NFL team that drafts him will be getting one of the best lineman prospects in this year's class.
Tristan Wirfs Draft Profile
He was Iowa’s right tackle, but he has many classic left tackle traits. Wirfs was nearly flawless in pass protection the past two seasons, squaring up against pass rushers with ease. He has a broad, tapered frame and tremendously long arms, but his best attributes are outstanding balance and great feet, especially when on the move. He has the heavy hands to stand up pass rushers and punches with impeccable placement and timing. Iowa’s pro-style offense meant he needed to hold his blocks for an extended period, as opposed to tackles in some spread offenses. He’s outstanding in the run game as well, with the leg drive to create push at the line of scrimmage and the athleticism and nasty streak to dominate when moving to the second level.
He had some issues against pure speed rushers earlier in his career, and it was tough to get a read on just how far his development came last season because of Iowa’s soft schedule (they did not play Ohio State, and the Big Ten is filled with a lot of middling athletes outside of Columbus).
Some might see him as a guard, where he’d likely thrive, but Wirfs has the ability to play outside in the NFL and become a quality starter.
Final Grade: 1st round
(Top photo by Stephen Mally, courtesy of hawkeyesports.com)