OT Tristan Wirfs (Iowa)
Tristan Wirfs may have been Iowa’s best offensive lineman last season in a year where the storied program wasn’t having it’s best season. Wirfs is potentially the best tackle in the draft, as Pro Football Focus has him ranked second on their board of offensive tackles behind Andrew Thomas of Georgia. Having watched Wirfs a lot, it’s not hard to see he has quickness in not just his footwork but his hands too.
He’s incredibly nimble and can seal the edge on a lot of players in college. Maybe not a left tackle, but it’s more important to get the best players possible, considering the offensive line has holes for days. Wirfs combine stats are going to be key to finding out what he can offer beyond just size and great run blocking. Is he quick enough to catch a good pass rusher? How’s his footwork? Can he handle more complicated slants and stunts? Will he be quick enough to make the low-point-of-contact on the defensive front ahead of him? What about his horizontal speed; can he chase down a linebacker in the ground game? These are all questions you hope to have a better answer come combine time.
It’s not a perfect science, the combine, but it is a good barometer on what he would need to work on or what extra attributes he brings to the table.
Why Wirfs over other tackle prospects? Simply put there is no one unanimous pick at the position CBS has Jedrick Willis at the top spot. WalterFootball.com has Mekhi Becton and as mentioned before Pro Football Focus has Thomas. There is no Joe Thomas in this draft, so to draft someone with the expectation that they’ll become that is unrealistic. Every tackle prospect has major flaws and most of them have to do with their ability to pass-block.
So instead of trying to find the next great pass-blocking left tackle, let’s find an elite level run blocker instead so that the Browns can build a true AFC North team that can be successful.