TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – It’s been a thrilling few weeks for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After adding established elite players like Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski within the past month, the team picked up an exciting young offensive lineman Thursday on the first night of the 2020 NFL Draft.
With the 13th pick overall, the Buccaneers drafted offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs from Iowa.
“It was a pretty special moment,” Wirfs said on a video call Thursday night after being drafted. “When your phone starts vibrating, you kind of get this wave of excitement and fear and all of these emotions.”
The Buccaneers needed an offensive lineman Thursday night and made a move to make sure they got their guy. The Bucs, who were supposed to have the 14th pick, traded with the San Francisco 49ers to get the 13th pick and draft Wirfs.
“Coach Arians said, ‘We just traded with San Francisco. You’re going to be a Buccaneer,'” Wirfs said of the phone call he received from head coach Bruce Arians. “It’s kind of like a culmination of all of the hard work – blood, sweat and tears – and everything coming together in just a big wave of emotions. It was incredible.”
Wirfs has been lauded for having a rare athletic ability for someone his size and was described in his NFL combine analysis as having an “elite body type.”
“I think I’m a pretty powerful guy. I think I come off the line of scrimmage pretty quick,” Wirfs said. “I know I can pull and get out in space well and I think I can get up to the second level pretty fast.”
He’s hoping those strengths will help on the field at Raymond James when he’s blocking for new Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady.
“It’s pretty crazy to think about. Tom Brady has been in the league since 2000. I was born in 1999, so he’s been in the league almost as long as I’ve been alive,” Wirfs said. “It’s pretty cool to get to protect him.”
Leading up to the big night, Wirfs told reporters he felt calm and collected.
“Coming from Iowa, we run a pretty pro-style offense and I know when I was at the combine, hearing all the [terminology] that teams were using for fronts and play calls – it was pretty similar to what I was taught and what I heard at Iowa,” he said. “I just felt like wherever I went I was going to come ready to work. That’s kind of the mentality that was instilled in me at Iowa and I’m going to be coming from a great coaching staff who knows a pro-style offense. I was just excited to see where I end up and I’m ready to go.”
In the hours leading up to the draft, Wirfs – and his mom – caught some attention online when he rolled out a red carpet for her in front of their home.
“That was a pretty special deal. We were trying to give her a night kind of like Las Vegas – obviously, it’s not near as fancy and we’re not dressed up or [anything], but we just rolled the red carpet out on our front lawn,” Wirfs said of the heartwarming moment. “Still, I was trying to make it special for her.”