An offensive lineman has never won Offensive Rookie of the Year, but Tristan Wirfs, like Zack Martin and Quenton Nelson before him, had a case. Wirfs played every snap for the Buccaneers at right tackle and allowed only one sack.
Wirfs faced some of the league’s top pass rushers.
The Bucs traded with the 49ers to move up one spot in the first round to to select Wirfs last April. It cost Tampa Bay a fourth-round pick, which they surely see as well worth it now.
But General Manager Jason Licht said on the Pewter Report Podcast that he tried to move up higher for Wirfs than 13, afraid the Iowa offensive tackle wouldn’t remain on the board for Tampa Bay to select. Three offensive tackles went before Wirfs did. The 49ers selected defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw at 14th overall, the choice after Wirfs.
“I was stunned,” Licht said. “I saw him starting to fall. I was trying to go and get him, well, even higher than nine and nobody wanted to make any deals, and I think we made the first trade of the pandemic, at-home draft. There are teams but there was one in particular that I was very worried about going up to San Fran that was below us, and it turned out that that was going to happen, or they were seriously considering this trade, but they didn’t want to go back that far. They were afraid of losing their guy that they took, Kinlaw. So the fourth-round pick, that was easy for me to go and do it. If it was any less than that, they wouldn’t have taken the trade.”