SI Mock Draft 12.0: Another Vote for T Tristan Wirfs to Cardinals

Howard Balzer

In the latest Sports Illustrated mock draft (link below for the first three rounds), tackle is once again a popular pick for the Cardinals with the selection of Tristan Wirfs with the eighth overall selection. In the third round, the choice is Ohio State linebacker Malik Harrison.

In the analysis, it is noted that re-signed tackles Marcus Gilbert and Justin Murray will be free agents next year. However, to further clarify, assuming Murray is with the team all season, he would be a restricted free agent in 2021.

Thursday, Murray signed his 1-year, $750,000 tender as an exclusive-rights free agent (ERFA). Those players are barred from negotiating from other teams and that salary is the minimum for players with two credited seasons.

Here is the link: https://www.si.com/nfl/2020/04/02/nfl-mock-draft-trades-tua-tagovailoa-andrew-thomas-henry-ruggs

In Bridge’s Breakdown above, see his analysis of Wirfs. What follows is the scouting report from nfl.com by Lance Zierlein.

TRISTAN WIRFS      6-5       320      Iowa      40 time: 4.85

Arms: 34      Hands 10¼      Bench: 24      Vertical jump: 36.5

Broad jump: 121.0      3-Cone: 7.65      20-yard shuttle: 4.68

NFL comparison: Bryan Bulaga. Lindy’s: Bobby Massie

Iowa's home-grown product was not only the state's Class 2A Offensive Lineman of the Year at Mount Vernon High School but also a two-time state champion in the shot put and discus throw, as well as a state wrestling champion his senior year. Wirfs was the first true freshman to start for Iowa under head coach Kirk Ferentz, lining up with the ones in eight of 10 games played (seven at right tackle, bowl game at left tackle). He was suspended for the season opener in 2018 after being charged with DWI, but returned to form a strong pair of bookends with Alaric Jackson, receiving honorable mention All-Big Ten notice after starting 12 games on the right side. Wirfs' dominant play over 13 games (10 at right tackle, three at left tackle) on the Iowa line his junior season earned him 2019 second-team Associated Press All-American and Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year honors.

Overview

Right tackle with elite body type and freaky testing potential who might fall victim to elevated expectations based upon traits and Iowa pedigree. He has tremendous core strength and moves smoothly, over-sets and isn't the explosive drive-blocker former Iowa star tackle Brandon Scherff was. Wirfs has tools to handle gap-blocking duties while thriving in outside zone. If Wirfs can learn to play inside out and add a more effective jump-set into his repertoire, he could take a big step forward. Consistency of play could take some time, but he has the ability to become a good starter at either right tackle or guard.

Strengths

  • Elite body composition with lean mass and well-proportioned frame
  • State champ as high school wrestler
  • Weight-room monster -- can squat a bus
  • Quick out of his stance and into his work
  • Lateral quickness for move-blocking duties
  • Runs zone blocks up the field to elongate rush lanes
  • Has the upper-body power to press opponents off his frame
  • Above-average technician coming into league
  • Flipped from right to left tackle in some games
  • Pass-sets with basketball slides featuring smooth, quick steps
  • Ready hands with a compact, well-timed punch
  • Extended shuffle with rushers up and around the arc
  • Able to punch and re-set hands to battle rush counters
  • Alert to scan for post-snap games from defensive fronts

Weaknesses

  • Dominant traits, but doesn't consistently dominate with them
  • Needs level hat and pads as drive-blocker
  • Average explosiveness into initial contact
  • Plays on tip-toes at times and may have some ankle tightness
  • Inconsistent change-of-direction to second-level movement
  • Questionable length for extended block-sustain
  • Leads into pass sets with knee ahead of ankle
  • Issue with over-sets shows up on both run and pass game
  • Needs to be under control at junction point of the rush
  • Leans to outside foot on punch, opening his post
Comments

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