With all the talk of the great talent at wide receiver in this draft class, I think it became too easy to underrate the offensive tackles. Man, do we have some good ones in this group. I can see as many as four tackles going in the top 10 picks on Thursday night.
Quarterbacks are the highest-paid players on most NFL teams—their value is obviously of the utmost important to franchises—but the quarterback's main line of protection must come from the offensive line, particularly the tackle that protects their blind side. Good offensive tackles can demand a lot of money in free agency, so they can be very hard to sign or even trade for. Given the significance of the OT role, teams like to create a stockpile of good tackles through the draft. Expect to see these players go early and often on Thursday.
One of the tackles who is getting a lot of attention is Iowa's Tristan Wirfs. Wirfs is Kevin Hanson's 11th-ranked prospect going into the draft, and second-ranked offensive tackle. The 6-foot-5, 322-pounder is versatile enough to play either tackle spot. Wirfs has good footwork and power, and is effective in the running game and pass protection. In 2019, Wirfs was an All-American, made his second All-Big Ten team and was named the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year.
William Hill Sportsbook has Wirfs' player draft position number set at 8.5 with juice to the under at -170.
The New York Giants have the fourth pick in the draft and they have been tied to a few players, including Clemson standout linebacker Isaiah Simmons. SI's New York Giants publisher Pat Ragazzo makes the case for Wirfs, saying:
"As difficult as it would be to pass on Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons who fills several holes on defense, the Giants are better off drafting Wirfs to protect their franchise quarterback (Daniel Jones) and generational running back (Saquon Barkley)."
I can see Wirfs being a good fit for the Giants, but they could be looking at another tackle in that spot. If New York does go with a tackle not named Wirfs at No. 4, I could see teams looking to trade up to take the former Hawkeye.
Wirfs had an excellent combine. That was the last time talent evaluators got a chance to spend time with prospects, so that could be an advantage for Wirfs.
The Arizona Cardinals have the eighth pick in the draft and they should draft an offensive lineman. If he's still on the board, Wirfs should be their guy. With all the good young talent they have on offense, they should take Kyler Murray's insurance policy for years to come.
The Play: UNDER pick 8.5 (-170)
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