Buccaneers insider reveals team's backup plan for Graham Barton in Round 1

If Graham Barton hadn't been available at No. 26 overall, the Bucs had another option in mind.
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Things seemed to have worked out perfectly for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this weekend at the NFL Draft.

After a historic run on quarterbacks, one that even the Atlanta Falcons hilariously got in on, the draft board shifted back hard in Tampa Bay's favor. Graham Barton, the Duke offensive lineman who was expected to be a Top 20 pick, was on the board for the Bucs when they went on the clock.

He didn't last much longer.

Barton falling to the Bucs wasn't the only lucky bounce they got. Jalen McMillan was still there at pick No. 92, and Bucky Irving survived a rush on running backs to land in Tampa Bay's lap on Day 3. Both Chris Braswell and Tykee Smith dropped to the Bucs as well, which probably made life in the war room a lot easier than usual.

Had that not happened, specifically with Barton on Thursday, the Bucs had a backup plan that would have been just as good.

Buccaneer backup plan for Graham Barton revealed by NFL insider

According to Pewter Report's Scott Reynolds, the Bucs would have taken Illinois defensive tackle Jer'Zhan "Johnny" Newton at No. 26 overall if Barton had already been taken.

"If Barton was off the board at No. 26 the Bucs were poised to take Illinois defensive tackle Johnny Newton instead of Powers-Johnson – despite the interior offensive line being a more pressing need. Tampa Bay was determined to draft the best player available in the first round," Reynolds wrote.

That's notable for a few reasons, not the least of which is that Powers-Johnson would have seemingly been a perfect substitute for Barton.

Reynolds notes that the Bucs passed on Jackson Powers-Johnson -- a popular pick to Tampa Bay in many mock drafts -- because he didn't interview well. That's also why the team ended up bypassing Boston College guard Christian Mahogany on Day 3.

Things ended up working out for the Bucs, as Barton projects to be a perfect successor for Ryan Jensen at center and is one of many shiny new toys Baker Mayfield was gifted this weekend. Had the Bucs ended up with Newton in Round 1, it would have marked back-to-back years they went with a defensive player over an offensive lineman and would have needed to alter their Day 2 plans.

Perhaps that's where Powers-Johnson would have come into play, or maybe West Virginia's Zach Frazier would have been an option. Thankfully we didn't need to find out, and the Bucs' draft board fell exactly the way everyone was hoping it would.

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