Why Duke’s Graham Barton is perfect 1st-round pick for Bucs

by Neivo Team
Why Duke’s Graham Barton is perfect 1st-round pick for Bucs

When you’re picking 26th in the first round of the NFL draft, it’s hard to land the perfect prospect for your team.

But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers might have a chance to do just that if Duke offensive lineman Graham Barton is still on the board.

A versatile, athletic blocker who plays with a physical mentality, Barton should be the Bucs’ top target on the first night of the draft for multiple reasons.

For starters, Barton is one of the most versatile players in the entire draft class, with the ability to play all five positions along the offensive line. He’s spent most of his time at left tackle for the Blue Devils, and though he could stay there and still be effective at the next level, Barton could be even more dominant if he slides inside.

That versatility is a huge reason why the Bucs should target Barton, partly because of the flexibility it would give them with their other selections in this year’s draft. Tampa Bay needs an upgrade at both center and left guard, and since Barton can play either spot, the Bucs would be able to target either a center or guard on Day 2 or beyond and take the better prospect at either position, knowing Barton can lineup wherever that other player can’t.

Barton has prototypical size for an NFL offensive lineman at any position, and he brings rare athleticism for a trench warrior. Using Kent Lee Platte’s “Relative Athletic Score” for comparison, Barton has the third-best athletic profile of any offensive guard prospect since 1987:

You read that right; that’s just shy of a perfect athletic score based on size and testing numbers, placing him third among nearly 1,600 eligible prospects.

On the field, Barton plays with an elite blend of nastiness and intelligence. Just listen to his college coaches and teammates talk about what he brings to the table:

Spending a first-round pick on an offensive lineman isn’t the flashiest move, but if the Bucs get the chance to land Barton, they should be elated to add such a complete and polished player who will make an immediate impact, regardless of where he lines up.

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