Buccaneers Draft Graham Barton: The Pros And The Cons


The first day of the NFL draft has come and gone. We now know the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected the 26th overall pick. That player is offensive lineman Graham Barton.

This is a name that has been linked to the Bucs often throughout the draft process. With an obvious need on the interior of the offensive line, the Bucs were looking to grab someone like Barton early on. However, the consensus was that he would most likely be off the board by the time they picked.

For this reason, many are praising the Buccaneers this morning for getting great value. Both analysts and offensive line experts agree that Barton is an excellent prospect. In some ways I agree with them.

However, there are pros and cons to the Barton pick. I would even go as far as calling him a work in progress. Here is my initial analysis on the Barton pick.


Barton is an incredible athlete. His relative athletic score was a 10 out of 10 making him the most athletic Center prospect to come out of the draft ever. This makes his overall potential through the roof.

Barton has incredible agility to move side to side in pass protection as well as explosive power in his legs to fire out of his stance as a run blocker. You see this in his game tape over and over again. Moving him inside from left tackle to center will maximize this ability.

Using his quickness, Barton can get hands on the opponents early. If that is the case, he has an incredible grip strength to lock onto defenders chest. Once he gets his hands on you it’s game over.

Another thing that is worth heralding are Barton’s intangible. This is a player that demonstrates both excellent work ethic and intelligence. He will walk in as a rookie demonstrating a professional approach to the game of football.


Barton hand placement is sloppy. Offensive lineman want to keep their hands in tight to control their opponents chest. Too often Barton’s hands are around the shoulders or collarbone area and not in a position to direct his opponent where he wants him to go. 

Because his hands aren’t where they should be, Barton doesn’t always maximize his talent as a run blocker. This will only be exposed more in the NFL. If he locks onto defenders and his hands are out wide then he will be the victim of holding penalties at the next level.

Barton could also stand to improve his punch in pass protection. Shooting your hand out and dislodging your opponent at the line of scrimmage is an essential part of an offensive lineman’s arsenal. Barton must again keep his hand in tight and really displace defenders at the line of scrimmage.

As much as Barton’s athletic abilities excite me, he is too often out of control with them. While exploding out of his stand at the line of scrimmage is a positive, sometimes he can be too far out over his skis and lose balance. Keeping that aggression while maintaining control will be a critical part of his development.


I largely look at this as a good pick, despite the fact that I am lower than the consensus on Barton. His athleticism, professional approach and aggressive run blocking make him a very high upside prospect. However, the Buccaneers will have to clean up some of the technical aspects of his game to really get the most bang for the buck here.

I expect Barton to come in and start as a rookie at center. Much like we saw with rookie Cody Mauch last year, we should all expect some growing pains from the big man out of Duke. However, if he learns and develops his game then he has all pro potential in two or three years.

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