Former Hawkeye Tristan Wirfs primed for strong sophomore season with Tampa Bay

The 2020 NFL Draft first-round pick won a Super Bowl in his rookie season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021.


Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 7, 2020; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs (78) and defensive end Pat O’Connor (79) celebrate after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Ethan Brander, Sports Reporter

Former Hawkeye offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs is coming off a Super Bowl-winning rookie season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Wirfs played a vital part in the Buccaneers offense as he protected quarterback Tom Brady — giving up a single sack throughout 20 games and 1,073 snaps.

The Mount Vernon, Iowa, native played three seasons at Iowa from 2017-20. As a true freshman in 2017-18, Wirfs first saw time in the third game of the season as the Hawkeyes beat North Texas University, 31-14.

For the next three seasons, Wirfs became a mainstay on the Hawkeyes’ offensive line. During his final season as a Hawkeye in 2019-20, Wifs was a first-team All-Big Ten selection and garnered first-team All-America honors from Football Writers, Walter Camp Foundation, and Phil Steele.

After the Hawkeyes’ win against USC in the 2019 Holiday Bowl, Wirfs declared for the 2020 NFL Draft.

Wirfs attended the 2020 NFL Draft Combine, putting up the best 40-yard dash time among tackles with a 4.85-second time. He also tied the combine record for tackles in the broad jump at 10 feet and one inch. At the Combine, Wirfs measured 6-foot-5 and weighed in at 320 pounds.

At the 2020 NFL Draft, Wirfs was chosen 13th overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — the fourth tackle selected. Tampa Bay originally held the 14th pick in the first round, the Buccaneers traded with the San Francisco 49ers to up one spot and select Wirfs.

Wirfs signed a four-year rookie contract with the Buccaneers after the draft totaling over $16 million, according to His deal included a $9.362 million signing bonus.

As a rookie, Wirfs was thrown into the starting offensive line throughout the 2020-21 season. Wirfs started every regular season and postseason game, including the Super Bowl.

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“I went up against a lot of tough guys, and they all have something a little bit different that they do,” Wirfs said to the UI Center for Advancement. “[Chicago Bears linebacker] Khalil Mack is pretty good, strong, and fast at the same time. You don’t know what he’s going to throw at you. [New Orleans Saints] Cam Jordan is a big edge rusher. If he lines up super wide and gets a full head of steam, he’s powerful. [Carolina Panthers] Brian Burns, [Los Angeles Chargers] Joey Bosa, and [the Green Bay Packers] Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith are all tough to prepare for, too. I had a lot of fun going up against all those guys.”

CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco placed Wirfs 82nd in his list of 2021 top-100 players. In Prisco’s list, Wirfs is the sixth-best tackle and top among rookie tackles.

Wirfs returned to Iowa City after his Super Bowl-winning season to train at his alma mater before his second year in the NFL.

“I’ll be back to train at Iowa during the offseason, but I need to sit down and think about my goals,” Wirfs said. “I’m not sure yet. Getting back to the Super Bowl could certainly be at the top of the list.”