Buccaneers GM Talks About Attempting to Trade Up for Graham Barton


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected offensive lineman Graham Barton with the 26th pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Barton falling to the Bucs was a surprise for most. Another surprise was Bucs general manager Jason Licht not making any trades during the draft. Why is that a surprise? The 2024 NFL Draft was the first time Licht didn’t make ANY trades. That’s a crazy streak right?

That streak was almost continued according to Licht. While appearing on Sirius XM’sMad Dog Radio” channel’s “Schein on Sports” Licht admitted that he tried to trade up to get Barton earlier in the draft. Luckily he wasn’t able to pull a trade off and Barton tumbled to the 26th spot.

Here’s the exchange between Schein and Licht via JoeBucsFan.com,


“I have to smile in terms of perfection with Graham Barton. And you guys needed a center, needed an offensive lineman. He’s smart, he’s tough. He’s physical. Has the qualities I know you look for in an offensive lineman that we have seen from other great, recent offensive linemen for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Was that as no-brainer of a selection in terms of player, DNA, fit for your football team?”


“I think you nailed it. Yeah, it was. It was a no-brainer for us. And I will be quite honest with you, I didn’t think that there is going be a snowball’s chance in hell that he was going to be there at our pick. So, when the board started to slide and fall the way it did, with the quarterbacks going and the run on some certain positions, I started to get pretty nervous. I attempted to try to move up. But I’m glad I didn’t in this case — that doesn’t always work out that way. [Barton] is everything we are looking for in the traits for an offensive lineman, especially as an interior player.”


“At what point do you start to maybe — I don’t want to say “get antsy” because I know how measured you are when it comes to the draft and the process and you are smart and you are calm — but [Barton] is the guy, this is the player. So, is Pittsburgh the moment? At what point do you say, “OK; A) this might happen, and/or simultaneously, B), “Let’s work the phones a little bit?”


“Well, I think you nailed it. It was at 20 there with Pittsburgh because I know how they value their offensive linemen. And I think they got a helluva pick there (versatile Troy Fautanu), too. But it was about then. And then we just kind of started to, once [Barton] got by the Dolphins I thought we had a shot. I was worried about the Cowboys there. They got good value trading out. And then when Philly came in there and took a corner, I thought we might have a shot here, a legit shot. And that’s the way it worked out. I couldn’t have turned that card in any quicker if I tried.”

Things have a funny way of working themselves out. This is just another example of that.

There are pros and cons to the Barton pick bu the Buccaneers. Our draft geek JT Olson recently wrote about these. Here’s his initial analysis on the Buccaneers first-round 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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