The Iowa Hawkeyes had a winner in 2019 with Tristan Wirfs at right tackle. He is a player the New York Jets must consider with the 11th overall pick.
The New York Jets needed to finish the season on that 6-2 run. It gave them the confidence to trust the process and put them right where they were expected to be in terms of their overall win-loss record.
If there’s any downside to this second-half surge, it would be that it now makes it a little tougher to secure the offensive tackle that they desperately need.
Wirfs has very little downside. He’s also similar to many of the top-tier tackles in this draft in terms of having menacing size. The 6-5, 322-pound tackle showcases exceptional length and pairs his impressive size with outstanding athleticism.
Possessing all the attributes needed to play on either side of the line, Wirfs also has good speed. He could even play guard as well, although transitioning him to the interior won’t be necessary.
He’s great utilizing his hips and that makes him very difficult to knock off the line. If the New York Jets want to send Sam Darnold out of the pocket, Wirfs’ strong first moves would be enough to protect the quarterback if he’s on the left side. On the right side, he works because of his athleticism which enables Wirfs to stay with his assigned rushers at all times.
Obviously, Wirfs won’t be perfect in his first year. What rookie is? But the Iowa Hawkeyes star projects to fulfill his potential on the earlier side of his career.
If the New York Jets simply want to have Darnold drop back on a good majority of passing plays, Wirfs will also be just as effective. This is because of his explosiveness as soon as the ball is snapped. The number one attribute of Wirfs’ game is his power, and that combined with the fast-twitch that he has is why Wirfs is so special.
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He literally seems to explode on opponents immediately. Therefore, stunning defenders right off the jump is going to be huge. It stalls rushers and will buy Darnold and the Jets receivers more time to get down the field.
His speed will be crucial for the running game regardless of the concept, and it’s worth noting that he’s tremendous in the second level. Athletic enough to keep up with plays, Wirfs hustles to throw extra blocks in the rushing attack. This couldn’t be more valuable to a team with a back as patient as Le’Veon Bell.
There’s not much negative to say about Wirfs. He was an extremely productive player at Iowa and actually ran a pro-style offense there. He’s going to be an outstanding player in a few years, and will already be at least “sufficient” for the Jets early on.
It’s so important to draft in the trenches, and if the New York Jets don’t want to pull the trigger on a receiver right away, there’s a great shot Wirfs is there for the taking.