The Big Board: Wirfs Still Expected To Go Early In First Round

Former Iowa offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs is expected to go early in the first round of the NFL draft. (USA Today Sports)

John Bohnenkamp

Tristan Wirfs made a big impact at offensive tackle in his Iowa career, and he added to that with his showing at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

Wirfs still is high in the first round of mock selections heading into the final month before the NFL draft.

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr., had Wirfs going to the Arizona Cardinals with the No. 8 pick.

"With DeAndre Hopkins on his way to Arizona, the Cardinals filled their need for a new No. 1 wide receiver," Kiper wrote. One spot they haven't addressed? Right tackle, where they could upgrade on former undrafted free agent Justin Murray, who started 12 games last season. This team could have its pick of a deep top tier of tackles, but I like the fit with Wirfs, who was predominantly a right tackle in college. He's a load in the run game and has great feet in pass protection. Arizona must protect quarterback Kyler Murray, who was sacked 48 times last season, tied for most in the league."

NFL.com's Lance Zierlein had Wirfs going with the 10th pick to the Cleveland Browns.

"Athletic tackle who has experience on both the left and right sides. With Jack Conklin in the fold now, Wirfs gives the Browns a chance to protect Baker Mayfield with a pair of quality bookends," Zierlein wrote.

NFL.com's Charley Casserly had Wirfs going to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 14th selection.

"Protecting Tom Brady has to be a high priority. Wirfs fills the bookend hole opposite LT Donovan Smith," Casserly wrote.

Zierlein did not have former Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa going in the first round. But Casserly had him going to the Dallas Cowboys with the 17th pick.

Epenesa closed the season with a flourish — he had 11 sacks, but seven of those came in Iowa's four games.

"With Robert Quinn leaving for Chicago in free agency, the 'Boys need an edge-rushing partner for DeMarcus Lawrence," Casserly wrote. "But will Epenesa's 5.04 40-yard dash scare Dallas away?"

Kiper had Epenesa going 25th to the Minnesota Vikings.

"Epenesa could be a capable replacement for (Everyone) Griffen as a defensive end with a big frame (6-foot-5, 275 pounds) who is good against the run and has room to grow as a pass-rusher," Kiper wrote.

Comments (1)
RobertMac
RobertMac

I think Epenesa will go in the first round. If not, there are a lot of scouts who don't know football.