Buccaneers NFL Draft grades: Not every expert agrees Graham Barton was the right pick

It seems the general consensus is Graham Barton was a good pick, but not everyone agrees.
2022 NFL Draft - Rounds 2-3
2022 NFL Draft - Rounds 2-3 / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

The first round of the NFL Draft is officially in the books, but the debriefing on what happened is only just beginning.

Draft grades are starting to come in for every pick made on Thursday, and for the most part, it seems experts are fans of what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did. After an early run on quarterbacks, one that hilariously saw the Atlanta Falcons draft Michael Penix Jr., the Bucs had Graham Barton fall into their lap with the No. 26 pick.

This came after a run on edge rushers, which seemed like it might be Tampa Bay's preferred position to address in the first round, but Jason Licht shot that down after the pick was made. Whether he was just saying it because there was no going back or not doesn't matter, as he said that Barton was the pick all along just like he said Calijah Kancey was always going to be the Bucs' pick last year.

If things turn out similarly for Barton as they did for Kancey, it's another slam dunk pick for Tampa Bay. There's an element of bias to that, though, but it seems experts around the league also love what the Bucs did on Thursday night in Detroit.

2024 NFL Draft Grades: Experts love the Buccaneers taking Graham Barton in Round 1

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN: Passing Grade

He didn't full break down the Barton pick like other selections that were made, but Mel Kiper made sure to single out Tampa Bay's selection. As he put it, Barton could end up being a steal when we look back at this year's class in a few years.

Kiper says:

"The Bucs have been looking for an upgrade at center after Ryan Jensen was forced to retire , and they were able to snag my top-ranked pivot in Graham Barton at No. 26. That's a potential steal."

Nick Baumgardner, The Athletic: A-

Over at The Athletic, Nick Baumgardner was similarly impressed with what the Bucs pulled off. He highlighted how intelligent Barton is and how that quality will help upgrade Tampa Bay's offensive line in more than one way.

Baumgardner says:

"One of the most powerful linemen in the class, Barton doesn’t have ideal length to play outside in the NFL, but his power and IQ (along with his feet) are more than enough to be terrific inside. He’s probably interior-only in the NFL, but he has a chance to be a very good guard and/or center for a long time."

PFF: Good

While they didn't hand out traditional grades, PFF gave the Bucs a 'good', which amounts to a passing grade in our book.

PFF says:

"Tampa Bay is set at tackle with Tristan Wirfs and Luke Goedeke, so Barton is sure to play inside. He has experience at center and enough athleticism to play anywhere up front. Barton earned an 88.7 overall PFF grade across the last two seasons, which stands as the fifth-best among all FBS tackles in that span."

Doug Farrar, USA Today: C-

Here's out big naysayer, as Doug Farrar was decidedly not a fan of the Buccaneers taking Barton. It's not that he thinks Barton is a bad player, rather Farrar doesn't think he's a first round prospect over some of the other players at his position.

Farrar says:

"A lot of analysts I trust and respect love Graham Barton’s game, and while I did see flashes when I watched his tape, I’m not sure exactly what he does at a dominant level. If I’m taking a player in the first round — even the late first round — I want at least one alpha trait. "

Brent Sobleski, Bleacher Report: B

Brent Sobleski says:

"As a short passer, Mayfield needs a strong interior pocket. That's what makes an investment in Barton so important. The incoming rookie already showed he's an excellent athlete and pass protector. He can be even more effective when working inside."

Rob Rang, Fox Sports: B+

"Barton is arguably the most versatile offensive lineman in this class, projecting nicely to guard or center (where he was a Freshman All-American) after starring at left tackle the past three years against quality competition. He has a quality combination of size, athleticism, technique and grit — projecting similarly in many ways to recently retired center Ryan Jensen. "

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