Buccaneers value Wirfs’ athleticism

Tristan Wirfs’ athleticism has gone viral multiple times. Now, he’s ready to take it to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.


Katina Zentz

Iowa offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs cheers during the Iowa vs. Northwestern football game at Ryan Field on Saturday, October 26, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Wildcats 20-0.

Pete Ruden, Pregame Editor

Tristan Wirfs is no stranger to going viral.

Most recently, he rolled out the red carpet for his mom in front of his Mount Vernon home before the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Before that, he set the Iowa football hang clean record by completing four reps with 450 pounds on the bar.

He also once box jumped out of a pool, showing the world his explosiveness long before his impressive performance at the NFL Combine.

It’s the viral videos of the hang clean and the pool jump that had NFL teams enamored leading up to the draft.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers cashed in on that athleticism when they traded up a spot to select Wirfs with the 13th pick in the draft on April 23.

“It’s kind of cool to see [the pool jump] coming out now, because I did that two and a half years ago,” Wirfs said. “I’m sure I can still do it. I’ll try this summer. It’s kind of funny how it’s all coming back, coming full circle.”

Wirfs showed what he could do on a physical level at the NFL Combine in March.

The Mount Vernon, Iowa, native ran a 4.85 40-yard dash, reached 36.5 inches in the vertical jump, and broad jumped 121 inches. It’s even more impressive considering he weighs 320 pounds and cranked out 24 reps on the bench press.

The Buccaneers covet that athleticism.

“He ran in the mid-to-low 4.8s in the 40, which is not why we drafted him where we did, but it is an indication of how athletic he is,” Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht said. “My six-year-old son, Theo, the first thing he asked was, ‘Is he faster than [Buccaneers linebacker] Devin White?’ I had to say no, but he was amazed at how fast he was. He’s got very good quickness, very good feet. He’s got very good agility.”

Related: Wirfs embraces Tampa Bay destination

In addition to his athleticism, he showed his versatility on the field last season, as well.

When the Hawkeye offensive line caught the injury bug, Wirfs stepped up and switched between right and left tackle, sometimes doing so on the same drive.

Tampa Bay plans to use him at right tackle, Licht said, but the versatility has not gone unnoticed. Neither has the power he presents on the field.

“I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve done seen one do the things that he does athletically as far as numbers,” Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said. “On the tape, he’s a powerful, powerful run-blocker — extremely light-footed. You see everything you’re looking for. It’s just when is he going to be ready.”

Wirfs can’t fly down to Tampa Bay yet, with COVID-19 precautions restricting much of the NFL Draft and offseason measures. So, he will continue to work on being ready in Iowa.

He has access to a privately-owned Crossfit gym in Iowa City, he said, which has allowed him to finish Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle’s workouts.

He hasn’t heard a specific date on when he’ll be able to get to his new city. Until then, Wirfs will make the transition from Doyle’s workouts to the Buccaneers’.

“It’s just been, ‘We’ll get you the iPads for the playbook and then send you the workouts,’” Wirfs said. “It’s all going to be on Zoom, I’m pretty sure.”