Buccaneers rookie projected to make NFL's 2024 All-Rookie First Team

One of the Bucs' seven rookies are projected to succeed early in their NFL career.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Indianapolis Colts
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Indianapolis Colts / Michael Hickey/GettyImages

Most of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offseason was spent trying to run things back. Players like Antoine Winfield Jr., Baker Mayfield, and Mike Evans were re-signed, and even external signings were tinged with reunion as Jordan Whitehead returned after a few seasons in New York.

Even though the Bucs did manage to land some lowkey signings on their offensive line in free agency, including Ben Bredeson and Sua Opeta, Tampa Bay chose to address the future of the line later in the NFL Draft. With their first-round pick, Tampa Bay selected former Duke offensive linemen Graham Barton, who was a Two-Time All American and All-ACC First Team selection with the Blue Devils.

Just one season ago, Tampa Bay held one of the worst offensive lines in the league. Now, the Buccaneers are slotted to have one of the league's better o-lines with Bredeson, Opeta, and Barton joining star tackles Tristan Wirfs and Luke Goedeke on the team.

Even as a rookie, Barton is expected to play a major role anywhere on the Bucs' offensive line, and has been a popular candidate to impress in his rookie season. NFL draft analyst Chad Reuter named his picks for the 2024 All-Rookie Team, in which he had Barton as his choice at center.

NFL Draft analyst thinks Graham Barton could be an All-Rookie star for Buccaneers

"The Buccaneers landed the best center in the draft, a much-needed addition for a team that wants to win a fourth straight NFC South title and make a deeper playoff run this time around," NFL Draft analyst Chad Reuter wrote. "Barton can play any spot on the offensive line despite his average length. Also, he possesses the intelligence to handle calling protections and making adjustments in the middle of the line. There are many accolades in his future, including a spot on the 2024 All-Rookie Team."

The praise from Reuter is certainly warranted for Barton, who succeeded all over Duke's offensive line. In four years as a Blue Devil, Barton made 39 career starts (34 at left tackle and five at center), and only allowed 50 pressures, 32 hurries, eight quarterback hits, and 10 sacks. In addition, Barton recorded pass block efficiency marks of 98.0, 96.5, 98.7 and 97.2 in each season, respectively.

This past season, Barton was solid, allowing just nine quarterback hurries and two sacks in 496 snaps and nine starts, equating to a solid 75.9 PFF grade. The season before, Barton only gave up eight quarterback hits and two sacks in 896 snaps and 13 starts for a stout 88.2 PPF grade. 

At 6'5" and 314 pounds, Barton's success at the collegiate level and his size give the Bucs plenty of ways to utilize him on their offensive line in 2024.

With an advanced understanding of how to win leverage on defenders with positioning, pad level and good quickness to get into initial fits on time, Barton may enjoy success early in the NFL, starting with a potential appearance on the NFL's All Rookie Team at the end of this season.

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