Graham Barton is already getting hyped as a potential Pro Bowler

It's safe to say expectations are sky high for the newest Buccaneers first round pick.
Duke v Louisville
Duke v Louisville / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wrapped up work at the NFL Draft this year, they were already feeling good about how things went.

The vibes started out strong right away on Thursday night when Duke offensive lineman Graham Barton fell to Tampa Bay at No. 26 overall. He was expected to be a Top 20 selection, but a run on quarterbacks and edge rushers ended up pushing him back on the board and right into Tampa Bay's lap.

It seemed likely that the Bucs were going to take an offensive lineman, as rebuilding the line was perhaps the biggest need the team had this offseason. Poor play and bad injury luck plagued things upfront over the last two years, getting so bad that even the greateness of Tom Brady couldn't overcome things.

Tristan Wirfs is without a doubt the anchor and leader of the offensive line, but outside of him the team was left with a ton of questions. Jason Licht is hoping he found an answer by drafting Barton and Buccaneers insider Scott Reynolds thinks they might have done a little bit better than that.

Buccaneers rookie Graham Barton is already getting Pro Bowl hype

Reynolds posted an excellent breakdown of why he thinks the Bucs nailed drafting Barton, all of which leads him to believe the rookie will be a Pro Bowl before too long. Not only that, but Reynolds sees shades of Ali Marpet in everything Barton brings to the table.

"Barton is like Ali Marpet, not only in the way that he plays as a technician with the great physicality like Marpet did but also just the way he looks and talks," Reynolds said. "Barton could be one helluva lieutenant for [Tristan] Wirfs, and I see him being Jason Licht's next Pro Bowl offensive lineman ... and doing it sooner rather than later."

Both Marpet and Barton will be moving from tackle to the interior of the offensive line, and there's an expectation that the rookie will be taken under the wing of Tristan Wirfs and turned into a leader on offense.

If Barton ends up at center, which is what the early plan seems to be, then he'll be filling shoes left by Ryan Jensen -- another incredible endorsement by the Bucs.

Not only that, but Barton will be Baker Mayfield's best friend on offense next season as the two begin to form one of the most important relationships on that side of the ball. All indications when Barton was drafted seemed to be Tampa Bay landed a guy more than capable of doing the job, and the comparisons to Ali Marpet should excite everyone hoping to see offensive line play finally improve.

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