The Smart Move

April 1st, 2023

She gets it.

Finally, someone gets it!

There has been a lot of chatter this offseason, chatter that the Bucs have sort of inflated themselves, that it might be a smart move to flip All-Pro right tackle Tristan Wirfs to left tackle.


Don’t fix something that is not broken. Joe believes in this philosophy to its core. And there is not one damn thing wrong with Wirfs at right tackle.

So if the Bucs need a left tackle (and they do) what is so evil and heinous with, you know, drafting a left tackle at No. 19?

For reasons Joe simply cannot fathom, it seems many Bucs fans want to try to screw up an excellent thing and push Wirfs to left tackle. Good, grief! That’s a lousy Lovie Smith stunt.

Well, it seems NFL Network stat queen gets it. Cynthia Frelund put out a mock draft on for this month’s draft — this month! — and she believes the smart move for the Bucs is to draft Oklahoma left tackle Anton Harrison.

Offensive line has to be a priority after some key departures. Harrison played LT at Oklahoma and allowed only one knock down (sack/hit) on 425 pass pro snaps last season.

So Joe decided to see what Sports Information Systems and their gaggle of analytics nerds had to write about Harrison.

Harrison played in 34 games in his short career for the Sooners. He started in 24 of those games over the last 2 seasons with all of those starts coming at left tackle. Harrison has good size and frame and displays good length and adequate athleticism for the position. He is a competitor in the trenches and will finish defenders into the ground on occasion as well. …

Harrison projects to be a solid starting left tackle at the next level with his pass protection skills. He has the ideal size and length for the position, and as a young prospect he can keep developing his skills as a blind-side protector. Harrison will need to add some more strength to his frame to improve as a run blocker, but his temperament and powerful hands show this is an attainable goal for him. His awareness and ability to move his body into position to seal defenders projects him to fit best in a zone-run scheme as well.

Well, Oklahoma is sort of a sleeper in developing offensive line talent. They’ve pumped out good ones recently including Orlando Brown, Creed Humphrey and Lane Johnson. Long-time Oklahoma offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh knows what the hell he is doing.

Joe just doesn’t understand why folks are so eager to maybe screw up two positions by moving Wirfs. Remember when the Bucs thought moving Ali Marpet to center was a smart play?

Anyone recall when the Bucs gave Demar Dotson a few starts at left tackle? He was so awful it led the Bucs to draft Donovan Smith — uh, oh!

It’s real simple: Drafting a left tackle at No. 19 is a wiser play than moving Wirfs.

55 Responses to “The Smart Move”

  1. Tee Says:

    Agreed. Draft a LT and be done with it. Wirfs and Jensen are the only guarantees we know about for this Oline next season. Leave that “spit” alone.

  2. Leopold Stotch Says:

    I’m good with that. Our coaches can develop him.

  3. westernbuc Says:

    Could be smoke to cover for an obvious draft need or drive price down for guys they’re talking to

  4. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Demar Dotson sucked at RT too.

  5. Bucky Says:

    He could be a solid LT, but wouldn’t mind a road grader type like the Tennessee kid.

  6. Goatfarmer Says:

    I see nothing wrong with this move.


    But it also might be that Wirfs can flip effortlessly, especially if the rookie LT turns out to be a Goedonkey.

  7. BA’s Red Pen Says:

    Leave Wirfs where he is and find a left handed quarterback. Problem solved.

  8. sasquatch Says:

    Joe can certainly understand that it’s more difficult to draft a quality LT than RT. If they can get an LT without having to trade up and lose picks they need to fill other positions (or worse — reaching), do it. But if that doesn’t work out, you have to pick the better player who might be an RT, in which case, moving Wirfs to LT makes some sense… but ideally, leaving Wirfs to continue dominating at RT would be the way it goes.

    You can’t just be inflexible and assume you can draft the ideal LT. There are a few variables at play. So the “ain’t broke, don’t fix” should be a guideline rather than a rule.

  9. Bucsfantaiwan Says:

    Bucs can probably trade down to #24-27 and still get either Harrison or Wright. The extra 2nd/3rd allows you to get another pass rusher, a safety, and either a dt/te (need) or wr/cb (positional value).
    #24-27 LT
    #50 DE
    #82 S
    Extra 2nd/3rd TE?

  10. Jeebs the Honey Bear Says:

    You keep saying “if it ain’t broke”… WRONG. Left tackle is broke! Tristan Wirfs could fix it! To no even try and let him play LT is dumb dumb dumb. If he doesn’t look like a Pro Bowler there, then move him back to RT. But give the kid a chance to shine at the more important position.

  11. J Ghotier Says:

    You bring up Marpet to Center. But he also started and excelled at RG before ever moving to LG eventually and more than excelled there too. Wife isn’t changing positions, just flipping sides of the line at the same position. Just like Marpet did going from RG to LG. So using the Marpet move to Center as hesitation to move Wirfs from RT to LT doesn’t make complete since and isn’t completely comparative there. But also, if it’s not broke don’t fix it. I have hesitation moving him as well, but not because of Marpet’s Center foray as the reasoning.

  12. Obvious Says:


    A point of an angle on a point of view that most didn’t consider. Maybe he DOES want the shot at left tackle. Did anybody ask him what he wanted? Seems the Joe’s had a write up on him lately and he said he’d give it a go. Though I don’t recall him having a “strong opinion” about it. More like a rah rah feel to his words and not a strong desire.
    Then again it’s early and I might have drempt the article was written in the first place. So What’s his feelings on taking over the ULTIMATE position on the starting line?

    Didn’t he play the position for a bit and was highly regarded at left tackle as well in college?

  13. Stanglassman Says:

    This talk is not because people get it, it’s because Darell Wright is shooting up the draft board and is no longer thought be available at 19. He a better prospect with a higher floor and ceiling. It’s also worth mentioning the Wright has moved to playing LT in the offseason. So if he were to drop to 19 and got picked they could plug him into LT instead of flipping Wirfs.

  14. MadMax Says:

    oh well, Wirfs gets it done and maybe he wants to step up to the next challenge as a dominant LT just like the dominant RT hes been that we were lucky to draft.

    I say go for it! Let him! If Wirfs is all about it, im all about it…..and i think thats whats going on.

    Im a huge Anton fan!!! BUT….big but….we can trade down and land Jaelyn Duncan later on if we go that route.

    im already planning Wirfs at LT, so, ive moved on….we all know it, so get over it.

    Steve Avila!!!! at RT and can play Center and both Guards!!

  15. FortMyersDave Says:

    I am with Joe and Cynthia on this take, Wirfs is awesome at RT why transplant him to LT? Just draft the best available LT at pick 19. Heck it beats wasting such a high pick on a safety and repeating the Mark Barron debacle.

  16. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    Successful Transitions of Players Selected to Pro Bowl or First-Team AP All-Pro from Right Tackle to Left Tackle:

    * Orlando Brown Jr. – Pro Bowls: 4; First-Team AP All-Pro: 0
    * Joe Staley – Pro Bowls: 6; First-Team AP All-Pro: 1
    * Tyron Smith – Pro Bowls: 7; First-Team AP All-Pro: 2
    * Jammal Brown – Pro Bowls: 2; First-Team AP All-Pro: 1
    * Jordan Gross – Pro Bowls: 2; First-Team AP All-Pro: 1
    * Willie Roaf – Pro Bowls: 11; First-Team AP All-Pro: 6
    * Bruce Armstrong – Pro Bowls: 6; First-Team AP All-Pro: 1

    Successful Transitions of Players Selected to Pro Bowl or First-Team AP All-Pro from Guard to Left Tackle:

    * Jonathan Ogden – Pro Bowls: 11; First-Team AP All-Pro: 4
    * Tarik Glenn – Pro Bowls: 3; First-Team AP All-Pro: 1
    * Laremy Tunsil – Pro Bowls: 2; First-Team AP All-Pro: 0
    * Flozell Adams – Pro Bowls: 5; First-Team AP All-Pro: 0
    * Chris Hinton – Pro Bowls: 7; First-Team AP All-Pro: 0
    * Lincoln Kennedy – Pro Bowls: 3; First-Team AP All-Pro: 0

  17. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Some of the greats thrived at multiple positions across the offensive line.

    The Great Bruce Matthews
    * 4 Pro Bowls & 4 All-Pro’s at Right Guard
    * 5 Pro Bowls & 1 All -Pro at Center
    * 6 Pro Bowls & 4 All-Pro’s at Left Guard

    Chris Hinton
    * 1 Pro Bowls at Left Guard
    * 1 All-Pro at Right Guard
    * 5 Pro Bowls & (2x) 2nd Team All-Pro at Left Tackle
    * 1 Pro Bowl at Right Tackle

    This was during when some the best offensive line coaches in the league crossed trained players just in case of injuries.

    I guess… “You’re either born a willow – or your born an oak. That’s all there is to it.”

  18. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Tristan Wirfs > Orlando Brown Jr.

  19. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    This was during *a time

  20. Joe Swanson Says:

    Lets not forget Trent Williams pretty good left tackle from Oklahoma.

  21. Rand Says:

    Let Wirfs decide. He’s the one that would benefit from doing so, not you Joe.

  22. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Luckily, Licht doesn’t let the fans make the picks or the moves.

  23. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Who believes that Wirfs would fail at LT? Sure, it’s possible but not likely.

    At least having the option to put him there opens us up to many OT prospects in the draft.

    I think it was said that the decision would be made after the draft…..I’m good with that….and if the coaches & Licht believer moving Wirfs is the right thing to do…..let’s do it and Joe will simply have to root for it to be the right decision.

  24. MadMax Says:

    @Luv, yo fam….aint this some stuff we’ve stepped in lol!!!

    I almost just want to say f it and step away for a few years or 4….., but we’ll run with it. Whether or not they listen to us, WE DO have a history here.

  25. MadMax Says:

    Peeps keep pushing us signing Lamar….wait until after the draft and then do so if thats a take we’re looking at pursuing. If someone beats us to him, oh well.

    a first pick next year and then figure it out from there…and he’s gonna have to come down and he knows that!!

    Thats the only way Lamar ever shows up here….just saying

  26. TDTB2022 Says:

    “If it ain’t broken, you don’t fix it” said, Byron Leftwich.

    Expanding one’s perspective causes evolution. Lazy fearful minds become an old piece of gum that always taste brand new.

    I trust our coaches. If you get the left tackle in the draft great! Otherwise, try the experiment.

    Go Bucs!!!

  27. George R Says:

    Wirfs was drafted at 13. Joe I heard you state before you don’t take a RT in the top 20. Joe if you are excellent at your job and there is a higher and a more important position where you can make more money that you are qualified for, don’t you think you should be able to apply for it.

  28. All_da_way Says:

    Draft a LT in round 1 and that solves a lot of the issues along the OL and helps whichever RB and QB ends up being the starters.

  29. Beej Says:

    Problem is we need to draft a tackle before we know whether Wirfs can play left

  30. ModHairKen Says:

    Here’s an idea: Re-sign Smith.

  31. TampaBayBucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Wirfs will become the best LT in the league, so get over it Joe and you may want to rethink constantly regurgitating the Bert Lance mantra , Lance was not a good guy.

  32. Joe in Michigan Says:

    The Bucs need to do what’s best for the Bucs as a whole, not just one position (Right Tackle, in this instance). It’s called “looking at the big picture”, which all successful businesses do.
    I’ve read that Harrison isn’t that physical, that he’s more finesse. Does that sound like an offensive lineman that Licht would draft? Maybe this guy will be the pick, who knows, but when I read he’s not that physical I crossed him off the list.

  33. THOMAS PFALZ Says:

    Depending on who’s available at 19. I like the safety from Alabama Branch or the RB from Texas.

  34. gotbbucs Says:

    Because you don’t pay your right tackle $20 million a year.

  35. DoooshLaRue Says:

    ModHairKen Says:
    April 1st, 2023 at 8:57 am
    Here’s an idea: Re-sign Smith.

    Too late. He was scooped up mere minutes after being released.
    There was like a bidding war for his insanely great holding skills, his fire, his passion.
    I think he makes like 50 mil a year now.

    We shall rue the day (3-7-23) that we let this warrior walk.


  36. confido75 Says:

    Draft Dawand Jones out of Ohio State. He and Paris Johnson kept CJ Stround upright and Dawand is a monster! Great value and upside in this pick.

  37. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    Wirf is going to be the league’s highest paid lineman in a few year. Might as well pay him based upon his worth.

  38. Goatfarmer Says:

    Licht knows OL pretty well. Except for Goedonkey.

    Licht will draft OL and/or DL in the first two rounds, let the dust settle, and see who is on the roster coming to camp. If Goedonkey can actually dump the donkey and play RT, and Wirfs works out well at LT when given a spin, or there’s another Wirfs clone for the LT spot that Licht grabs, it will all mean a better OL than the 2022 mirage.

  39. DH Says:

    I think it’s funny how everybody just know for fact he can make switch so effortlessly. I’m not saying he can’t….. I’m just saying we won’t know until he does it…. is LT really that much more important than RT. The best pass rushers move all around the line looking for the weak link. The only difference is your qb is going to see the sack coming. Leave him where he is and find another LT

  40. Mike S Says:

    Lukas Van Ness – Pass rush should be the priority

  41. Mike S Says:

    Lukas Van Ness – pass rush is the priority

  42. Mike S Says:

    Oops sorry for the double post

  43. Duane Says:

    I think Wirfs could play left tackle, but its better to draft one and have him as plan B. Still need 2 tackles to play.

  44. Bucamania Says:

    Wirfs played some LT at Iowa. It’s a big change but I don’t think there’s anything Wirfs can’t do.

  45. Mike S Says:

    I’m thankful Joe has this blog because outside a few simple rules (certain obvious words shouldn’t be posted, no links, length restriction) you can figure out – you can offer whatever opinion on the team you want without it being censored.

    Thanks Joe.


    Some of these lobbying campaigns Joe goes on for personnel management are hilariously bad.


    You have to manage the cap and that includes where you allocate money in term of position.

    You don’t hand out contracts that LTs get to RT. You just don’t. Its not even up for discussion.

    Wirfs is the best T on the field? Great! We got LT sewn up for hopefully a decade. Ok now lets move on to other concerns.

    Its difficult to wrap my head around why you would argue otherwise. Wirfs has been in the league now – he’s not a rookie. Any other team would move him over without blinking. Why do the Bucs hand-wring over no-brainer moves like this? Its ridiculous.

    There is an entire offseason to prep, train and plan for this move.

    I suppose it makes for fun discussion, but really its not good football sense to keep Wirfs at RT.

    Arguing to keep Wirfs at RT is like arguing to hand a QB on his 4th team in 6 years the starting job before OTAs even begin. I’m sure glad Joe runs this site, but I’m also glad Joe doesn’t make personnel decisions for the Bucs.

  46. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I trust Jason Licht to put together a good stating offensive line. And usually he does okay with that 2nd strings too. Beyond that? Well…3rd stringers are 3rd stringers.

  47. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Mike S Says:

    You have to manage the cap and that includes where you allocate money in term of position.”

    What if they draft a guy just as good who commands the same money?

  48. DoooshLaRue Says:

    You trade him for picks before the big contract and draft another one since you’re obviously (JL) good at picking OL.

  49. David Says:

    I completely agree about leaving Wirfs where he is an all pro.
    I just think it’s easier to draft a RT so they might make the switch

  50. Dapostman Says:

    Moving Wirfs to LT from RT is going to be way more effective than moving Todd Bowles from DC to HC.

    You heard it here first.

  51. Defense Rules Says:

    I love flexibility & redundancy among position groups; actually the best word is probably VERSATILITY. Injuries are a fact of life in the NFL, and having versatile players is the best insurance for being able to deal with those difficult situations.

    Bucs have no experienced LT at the present moment. Yes Wirfs can most likely play the position, but we KNOW that he’s already a helluva great RT. I’d much prefer to draft a true LT, and at some point this year cross-train Wirfs to also play LT. We know that Goedeke has played RT, so if Wirfs has to slide to LT because our draft pick gets injured (or ends up needing a year to get it together), then we’ve got OLinemen who are versatile enough to switch positions & still play at a reasonably high level. Stay flexible.

  52. ScottyMack Says:

    Seems pretty simple to me … you draft a LT with the first pick and a pass rusher with the second. You won’t know what you have until practices and the pre-season (people act like drafting the LT guarantees he is going to be a starter).

    You try the new guy at LT with Wirfs at RT. You try Wirfs at LT with Luke Goedeke at RT. You try various combinations to see what works best for ass protection and run blocking. That’s what the preseason is for!

    The main point is, you definitely need to draft a LT so that you have options and the longer you wait to do it, the less likely that LT is going to be a starting option (which means you don’t have options).

  53. BucEmUp Says:

    I think if there is someone there that w think willl actually perform well then Yes I agree…but if he’s gone don’t just draft a LT where you can and hope for the best. Tristan is a different animal and as much as I love Market it’s a different conversation. Tristan would be beast wherever he is plugged. I agree try and keep him where he is and hopefully we grab a guy that’s good enough to get the job done but a rookie LT with great stats in college doesn’t guarantee success. One thing I do trust is Jason Licht and his ability to draft Oline in any round. Whoever is worth the pick will be picked if available and if it’s not worth the pick will be passed.

  54. garro Says:

    Played Left tackle for 3 years. I often swithced sides mid game. I was a bit more agile than the RT and better at pulling on run plays. Having said that Its not like you just show up and play both sides. Footwork is backwards, hands are backwards, and you got someone next to you who is moving the other way on any given play and if you havent gotten used to what he does and visa versa it can be a PITA. Can be done but… Draft a Left tackle!

  55. garro Says:

    The thing is we are gambling with pick 19 in the draft, which is a crap shoot in and of itself. Why make it a bigger gamble by drafting at a position that we are set at? Come on people!