By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – From honorable mention All-Big Ten as a sophomore to the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year as a junior, and now a first-round NFL draft pick, yes, it’s fair to say that Tristan Wirfs’ career is moving in the right direction.
The Mount Vernon native will now be blocking for six-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Tom Brady after becoming the 10th former Hawkeye under Kirk Ferentz, and the fifth offensive linemen, to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers picked Wirfs with the 13th pick overall on Thursday.
Wirfs declared for the draft after a junior season that saw his stock soar due to his immense physical ability and with his play on the field.
Wirfs was a physical freak when he arrived at Iowa three years, ago and then he flourished under the guidance of Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle.
Wirfs actually achieved stardom in the weight room before the playing field, and that led to Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz sort of issuing him a challenge through the media.
A video of Wirfs setting what was believed to be an unbreakable weight lifting record had gone viral on the Internet last April and Ferentz said to the media that he hoped Wirfs could move defenders like he moved weights.
Wirfs agreed with Ferentz and then set out to do it, and now it is mission accomplished, at least to this point.
Wirfs has been a star at every level, but the NFL will be the ultimate test.
First-round picks under Kirk Ferentz
2003 – Dallas Clark, Indianapolis, 24th, TE
2004 – Robert Gallery, Oakland, 2nd, OL
2006 – Chad Greenway, Minnesota, 17th, LB
2010 – Bryan Bulaga, Green Bay, 23rd, OL
2011 – Adrian Clayborn, Tampa Bay, 20th, DE
2012 – Riley Reiff, Detroit, 23rd, OL
2015 – Brandon Scherff, Washington, 5th, OL
2019 – T.J. Hockenson, Detroit, 8th, TE
2019 – Noah Fant, Denver, 20th, TE