Throughout the month of July, I’m taking a much closer look at some of the 2020 NFL draft’s top prospects. In doing this, I’m creating a new series called “Building the Prototype.” Breaking down each position into the primary traits I specifically look for, I’m going to match 2020 prospects to those traits. Thus, I am essentially building the perfect draft prospect at each position in this upcoming class. In the fifth installment of this series, I put the next crop of offensive tackle prospects under the microscope. I have links to the other position groups of this series at the bottom of the page.
Functional Athleticism: Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
Iowa's Tristan Wirfs is an absolute freak. In fact, he is the best overall athlete in the nation, according to The Athletic's Bruce Feldman. Think about how crazy this is for a second: He broke a school record in the power clean with four reps at 450 pounds. That is not all. Wirfs also was reported to have these numbers as well: A 35-inch vertical jump, and a 9'5 broad jump. That athleticism in the weight room shows up on the football field each snap. His ability to block in space is unparalleled in this class, as he is one of the best second-level blockers I have ever studied at the position. Everything he does, whether in pass protection or the run game, Wirfs makes it look elementary because of his other-worldly athletic gifts.
Run Game Power: Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
I cannot pick another player for this trait if I truly want to build to the "perfect" 2020 offensive tackle prospect. Wirfs is a monster in the run game, plain and simple. He has vise grips for hands that allow him to lock on to defenders and drive them off the ball with ease. There are plays on tape, and I'm not kidding, where he looks like Michael Oher from "The Blindside" movie. His lower-body flexibility and athleticism makes it easy for him as a move blocker, as I explained above, but he is equally effective in a phone booth. His explosiveness and raw strength is rare. Wirfs' ability to do it all at the offensive tackle position at just 20 years of age is just asinine.
Pass Sets: Andrew Thomas, Georgia
I could have put Wirfs in this spot too, but Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas is too good to not be mentioned in this article. His tape reminds me so much of Jawaan Taylor in that you wouldn't expect someone with their build to move as efficiently as they do, especially in their pass sets. Like Taylor, Thomas is as smooth as they come in terms of mirroring and matching pass rushers off the edge, as well as anchoring down with power. There aren't a lot of moves that fool Thomas either. He stays patient and trusts his technique without overextending. A great example of this was against Kentucky's Josh Allen, who tried to win with quick, inside moves. Thomas shut those down and had the foot quickness to match his speed around the edge. I'm expecting another huge year for Thomas, which would cement his draft stock in the top of the first round.
Length/Hand Usage: Prince Tega Wanogho, Auburn
Other than Wirfs and Thomas, there may not be an offensive tackle in the 2020 NFL draft class that has more upside than Auburn's Prince Tega Wanogho. At 6'7, 305, Prince Tega Wanogho has vines for arms, and predictably, it's his biggest asset on the field. He engulfs pass rushers with those long arms, locks on, and effectively ends most pass sets like that on tape. I have no questions about Wanogho's athleticism, but I do think he has a long way to go in terms of coordinating his hands with his feet. He shows flashes of elite potential with his ability to extend and keep pass rushers at bay, and I think he will only get better with more reps because he is so naturally gifted.
2020 Prototype Series: