We live in an age of sports media where competition is king. In this area, discussion and debate could be seen as the weapons with which we compete. Social media serves as the arena in which the battle takes place. Competitors can be anyone with an opinion, because the modern sports landscape is as public, entertaining and inclusive for fans as it has ever been.
READ MORE: Tom Brady lands 10-year, $375 million deal as Fox NFL senior analyst
Leaderboards, tiers, and categories are constantly used to engage sports fans in discussions based on the teams, players, and various debates they most want to join or participate in.
Bucs fans have found themselves, like most other fanbases, making their most impassioned arguments when they feel like their team, or a player on their team, has been disrespected or overlooked, the more often by someone else’s list or ranking.
That’s why this Pro Football Focus article ranking the best offensive tackles in the NFL should be a breath of fresh air for Bucs fans. Not because it’s necessarily 100% correct, but because it’s hard to complain.
This is where Tampa Bay Buccaneers star right tackle Tristan Wirfs gets the respect and recognition he deserves.
According to the author of the article, Ben LinseyTristan Wirfs is the third-best attacking tackle in the game.
Within the “elite” tier in which the Wirfs name can be found, he is expected to be just behind Trent Williams and David Bakhtiari, and ahead of household names like Ryan Ramzcyk, Lane Johnson, Terron Armstead and Tyron Smith.
All of these players are franchise tackles, each having earned their elite status through consistent and highly effective production over many seasons in the league. So, compared to the Wirfs, each of them has a distinct advantage in a key category; Live.
READ MORE: Kyle Trask unlikely to compete for backup job at Tampa Bay this season
At just 23 years old, the fact that Wirfs sniffs out even the highest level of offensive tackles in the NFL, let alone listed in the top 3, is testament to what a special player he is.
Scroll to continue
Wirfs being recognized as one of the best in his position, while playing at the highest level of competition in the world, despite being only 23 years old, is quite an achievement.
The fact that just a few years ago he wasn’t even one of the top three offensive tackles selected in his own draft class (2020), makes his rise to stardom all the more rewarding. Not just for him, but for the entire Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization and their fans.
Los Angeles Chargers sophomore offensive tackle Rashawn Slater and Detroit Lions sophomore offensive tackle Penei Sewell are the only other players on the roster who can compete with Wirfs’ youth. Both are located further down the list.
Below is a ranking of the top 10 attacking tackles, presented in the same order as they are listed by Ben Linsey in his article for PFF, but I’ve included each player’s current age for additional context.
Top 10 attacking tackles (years of age)
1. Trent Williams (33)
2. David Bakhtiari (30)
3. Tristan Wirfs (23)
4. Ryan Ramczyk (28)
5. Lane Johnson (32)
6. Terron Armstead: (30)
7. Tyron Smith: (31)
8. Ronnie Stanley: (28)
9. Rashawn Slater: (23)
10. Taylor Moton: (27)
For the record, Bucs left tackle Donovan Smith was ranked the 24th best offensive tackle in the NFL, where he was listed in “Tier 7: Good Starters.”
Anyone who had the pleasure of watching Tristan Wirfs play week after week in his first two NFL seasons doesn’t need a PFF rating to tell them how elite he is. They already know. The same goes for his teammates, coaches and opponents.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t nice to see the rest of the world starting to take notice.
If you want to see Collin Haalboomthe exclusive post-draft interview of Thor Nystrom of NBC Sports Advantage in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft class, check out the latest episode of Bucs Banter Podcast.