The Best Non-Quarterback Drafted

June 26th, 2022

All-Pro tackle Tristan Wirfs.

You rarely see this about an offensive tackle, much less a right tackle.

Over at The Athletic, Nick Baumgardner decided to re-draft the 2020 NFL draft. He looked at the hits, whiffs and the players on the fence selected in the first round. And after picking two quarterbacks as the best players two seasons after they were drafted, Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert, the third-best player selected, per Baumgardner, is Bucs right tackle Tristan Wirfs, who was the 13th pick overall pick and the fourth offensive tackle drafted that spring.

No one who saw Wirfs work out ahead of the draft is surprised that all of his special athletic gifts have shown up through two years in Tampa. Wirfs is a 6-foot-4, 320-pound freight train with twitch. Big men aren’t supposed to be able to move like this, and nearly all of it, so far, has translated to the field for Wirfs. His flexibility and hand quickness just add to his tool box on the edge, as Wirfs has shown an ability to adjust and recover versus speed and power moves in pass protection. He’s a complete athlete with power throughout his frame, and that allows him to readjust and re-anchor mid-rep, even if a defender has an early advantage on him off the snap.

Wirfs has giant hands (10 1/4 inches), and his punch comes with plenty of power. Consistency with overall hand discipline is still an area where Wirfs can grow, but most complaints about his game would be nitpicks at best. Wirfs has had the good fortune of playing with some terrific players in Tampa, including left tackle Donovan Smith. Wirfs is a right tackle today, but if the time comes when the Bucs want to slide him over to left tackle, he should be able to handle that.

How cool is this? Well, the third tackle picked that spring, Mekhi Becton of the Jets, has already been labeled a lazy, selfish slob of a bust by the voice of reason, Phil Mushnick of the New York Post.

Becton, Mushnick believes, values banging, bling and grub over football.

What a lottery pick Wirfs was by Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht. Wirfs is not only a near perfect All-Pro, he’s just about a perfect person as well.

In other words, a total pro!

15 Responses to “The Best Non-Quarterback Drafted”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Selfish Slob of a Bust ….that’s what some of our fans were saying about Donavon Smith after his second year in the league ….you can’t make judgement on players after two seasons, I mean you can but you clearly won’t always be right!

  2. BucsfanFred Says:

    Does he want to move to left tackle?
    They move pass rushers all around these days.

  3. Chris Tucker@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I love Jason Licht, and the job he has done, but let’s not give him too much credit for drafting Wirfs.
    Wirfs fell to us, he was not supposed to be there, when we picked.
    It was a total no brainer to take him, and was not a genius move like taking Ali Marpet from Hobart College, or selecting Cappa from that tiny California School.

    Have to admit I am surprised Becton is not doing better!
    He was the top rated Lineman by many.
    Who knew he would succumb to BBQ and laziness ?

  4. Cobraboy Says:

    Wirfs was my #1 pick in that draft, but I never thought he’d fall that far. When he was on the board at the Bucs’ pick, it was like Christmas.

    This just goes to show that even the best NFL scouting is wrong more often than not. In a “Best Player Available” draft, Wirfs would be top 5.

  5. Cobraboy Says:

    @Chris: a kid with a serious weight problem in college will have the same problem as a pro.

    Bechton was considered lazy and fat in college. A huge human who moves other humans around, true. But still lazy and fat.

    He still is.

  6. Destinjohnny Says:

    Word is if the Bucs would have had their choice of the 3 they wouldn’t have drafted tW

  7. Goatfarmer Says:

    Stay healthy, Tristan. You don’t have a backup. See Rams game.

  8. DoooshLaRue Says:

    One attribute of his game was left out…… the desire and ability to go after another defender after he wins his battle.

    Not one and done like some other overrated OT.

  9. Duane Says:

    He is in the perfect spot of the line for his talent. You run to the strong side, and the offense should look to continue to develop with his skill set. He does have elite level pass protection skills, but I think you get better use out of letting him go after defenders, and Lenny take care of the rest. I think he takes another step this year as well with a vet like Shaq playing next to him. With all the talent this team has, I am still pleasantly reminded that there is upside to look forward to with many players.

  10. Wade Landry Says:

    Love this young MAN…him and VV in same area of 1st round…well done Mr. JL

  11. Goatfarmer Says:

    Duane – great post. That hasn’t been said better by any of the so called “professionals” constipating the airwaves with their babble.

  12. Buczilla Says:

    No one is better than Licht right now and watching Tristan maul dudes is fun.

  13. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Goatfarmer: The backup, Josh Wells, was hurt too. While not the greatest, he played hurt. Do I wish the Bucs would’ve drafted a better swing tackle? Yes, but Wells is an okay player.

  14. David Says:

    Notes to self when drafting lineman… Get dudes with tree trunks for legs from schools known for their O-line and on defense -get Pacific Islanders

  15. Christopher Schiefen Says:

    Andrew Thomas was the first tackle selected. But yeah, all three Ts ahead of Tristan aren’t that good.