NFL execs anonymously judge Buccaneers decision to draft Graham Barton

Jason Licht has to feel even better about his decision.
NFL Combine
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As the dust continues to settle on what happened at the NFL Draft a few weeks ago, more and more opinions are dropping from people within the league trying to determine how to feel about everything.

Most of the time these sorts of debriefs and knee-jerk reactions tend to trend negatively. That's still the case with teams like the Atlanta Falcons, who remain a total laughingstock for drafting Michael Penix Jr., despite needing everything other than a quarterback with the No. 8 pick.

That's an outlier in terms of questionable decisions and is rightfully still getting dunked on. All of that chaos has also distracted from what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did, which seems to be a plan that is universally getting thumbs up around the league.

NFL execs react to Buccaneers drafting Graham Barton

Usually, anonymous surveys result in snarky comments about how teams screwed up or didn't do the right thing. That's not the case here, though, as the results were glowing when it came to Tama Bay's pick.

The Athletic's Mike Sando talked with two executives who praised the Bucs for taking Graham Barton in the first round, noting that he could be someone that the team has as an anchor for the next decade.

  • “If Graham Barton is going to be a starting center for 10-12 years, how can you not do it? Was Frank Ragnow a bad pick for the Lions?”
  • “Barton is a really nice high-floor player. They’ve done a nice job building that offensive line.”

This seems to be in line with both gut reactions to the pick when it happened and how selecting a top offensive lineman typically goes. It's not the sexiest pick in the world but oftentimes ends up being the one that has the greatest impact.

Frank Ragnow is a perfect example, as that pick wasn't considered flashy at the time but has aged tremendously for a Lions team that is now a Super Bowl contender. Tristan Wirfs falls into that category too, as do guys like Alex Capa and Ali Marpet.

The common thread between those guys is that they're all either Pro Bowlers or Super Bowl champions -- or both.

Barton has a lot of work to do before he's in that category, but he's already getting hyped as a potential star for the Buccaneers. The fact that executives hiding behind anonymity are still at a loss for anything negative to say about the rookie is another fantastic sign.

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