It’s never too early to speculate on who might earn the NFL’s 2020 Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
While QBs Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert may grab a lot of the headlines, it’s time to consider Tampa Bay Buccaneers right tackle Tristan Wirfs for the honor.
— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 17, 2020
Tristan Wirfs 2020
Wirfs played three seasons at Iowa before declaring for the 2020 NFL Draft that was loaded with talented offensive tackles.
NFL teams drafted three offensive tackles before his name was called in the first round.
- Andrew Thomas, 4th pick overall, New York Giants
- Jedrick Wills Jr. 10th pick overall, Cleveland Browns
- Mekhi Becton, 11th pick overall, New York Jets
- Tristan Wirfs, 13th pick overall, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs gave up a fourth-round pick to the 49ers just to move up one spot in the first round from 14th to 13th to get Wirfs.
So far the trade and draft pick has paid dividends for the Bucs.
Wirfs has the GOAT Tom Brady as his QB so keeping the 43-year-old upright is a top priority.
As right tackle, he has only given up one sack, and his opponent on that play was Bears OL Khalil Mack.
Touchdown Wire’s Top 12 Offensive Rookies
When Touchdown Wire released its Top 12 list, Wirfs’ name topped the list.
The rationale for this ranking was:
“He has started every game at right tackle for Tampa Bay, and so far this season he has allowed one sack of Brady, which came on a Thursday night game back in Week 5 against Khalil Mack. Other than that, he has helped keep Brady clean in the pocket for an offense that at times has been one of the best in the league.
Sure, playing in front of Brady makes it easy, given how quickly the veteran QB gets the ball out, but in the Bruce Arians offense that features a lot of downfield throws, you need tackles that can hold up on those designs. Wirfs has done that and more.”
Wirfs On His NFL Initiation
Tristan Wirfs talked about his first training camp “lesson” with pass rusher teammate Shaquil Barrett.
“He hit me with like, a fake long-arm to dip and rip. I went to punch, and then he was just gone… I was like, ‘Oh boy.’ So that was kind of funny, just watching back on film. You could see the panic in my body language when I realized he was behind me already.”
Wirfs keeps learning and improving, and he was already playing at a high level on Week 1.
“I think each person I’ve gone against kind of helps me with a different thing. There are different things I’ve got to get ready for, moves that they show me. When I was going against Shaq and Cam, there was stuff that I had never seen before… It’s been cool just learning as I go every game. But it’s been pretty fun.”
Wirfs was outstanding again in Week 9 and built on his first career game vs. Jordan where he was also very good. You would be hard-pressed to find another tackle take on Jordan's power & deliver blows back like this. pic.twitter.com/CROfoLSaLs
— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) November 13, 2020
Top 12 List
The complete Touchdown Wire Top 12 list is as follows:
- Tristan Wirfs OT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Justin Herbert QB, Los Angeles Chargers
- Justin Jefferson WR, Minnesota Vikings
- Joe Burrow QB, Cincinnati Bengals
- Chase Young DL, Washington Football Team
- Meckhi Becton OL, New York Jets
- Jedrick Wills Jr. OL, Cleveland Browns
- James Robinson RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
- Julian Blackmon S, Indianapolis Colts
- Antoine Winfield Jr. S, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Chase Claypool WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
- Michael Onwenu OL, New England Patriots