No more Mr. Nice Guy: NFL teams hoping Tristan Wirfs comes with more nastiness

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Former Hawkeyes OL has total NFL package...if he can bring a little more attitude on Sundays

Tristan Wirfs has plenty of traits that could make him a NFL mainstay for the next decade.

“I want to be the first tackle taken,” said Wirfs at the NFL Combine on Wednesday. “I want to show everybody that I can be the most athletic.”

There’s athleticism.

“A lot of explosion in your hips, you know powering your hips,” said Wirfs about his 4 x 450-pound clean last summer. “Coach Doyle thinks I can do more because he said I’m barely using my hips.”

There’s power.

“You hear about the power clean numbers,” said The Draft Network’s Jordan Reid. “He’s gonna destroy the bench press as well.”

There’s technique.

“Coach Ferentz has always been on me about my hands, like carrying them higher in my sets. It’s a little easier punching having them up here than down by my waist,” Wirfs said.

There’s leadership.

“Growing up in a small town, you know, I was kind of a like … I don’t want to say a designated leader,” Wirfs said about growing up in Mount Vernon, Iowa. “But being a bigger kid, guys look up to you.”

Wirfs hit on all the reasons that he’s a first-round pick during his media session at the NFL Combine.

His only potential barrier is that he’s just too dang nice.

“Some teams said they want me to finish more and some teams wanted to see me be meaner. I’ve been hearing that for I don’t know how long,” Wirfs said. “I can try and be a little bit meaner, but we’ll see.”

We’ll see.

How does a 6-foot-5, 320-pound behemoth become…meaner?

“You tell me. I don’t know, I’ve never really been a mean person,” Wirfs said. “I think they [NFL teams] just want to see me get more pancakes. I think I did that a fair amount this season. Last year against Nebraska, I had 14 knockdowns.”

Wirfs allowed just two sacks last season while playing both right and left tackle. NFL Network analyst Bucky Brooks said regardless of what teams around the league ask the former Hawkeye at the combine, performance will always trump on-field demeanor.

“Regardless whether it is or it isn’t a part of his personality, people like to see that, but I think at the end of the day if he does his job effectively, if he keeps people off the quarterback, moves people off the ball,” Brooks said, “it won’t really matter what his demeanor is like.”

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