Graham Barton And The Bucs

April 12th, 2024

GM Jason Licht.

Joe’s favorite aspect of the NFL Draft is the aftermath, studying all the strategic moves and decisions, and the revelations seen through the picks.

One of the most interesting happenings of last year’s draft was Jets general manager Aaron Rodgers signing off on the team drafting — and starting — a rookie center with a premium draft pick.

With the 12th pick of Round 2, the Jets grabbed University of Wisconsin center Joe Tippmann.

He was a Day 1 starter and a true bright spot through the ’23 season. The next offensive lineman off the board was Bucs guard Cody Mauch. Joe has wondered whether the Bucs signed veteran starting guard Matt Feiler just before last year’s draft because they thought they might have been able to grab Tippmann a week later.

Perhaps Buccaneers Ring of Honor general manager Jason Licht will write a book one day and address that.

Regardless, it’s easy to say the Bucs need a center. Even if you think starting center Robert Hainsey is solid — Joe finds him serviceable — Hainsey is in his contract year and Joe suspects the Bucs have no interest in paying Hainsey quality starter money in 2025.

So what about Graham Barton out of Duke?

Barton was a left tackle but played center as a freshman. He’s a consensus first-round pick by the mock draft crowd (Joe wrote about him a couple of times), and came up again as a Bucs target last night on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Good guy Charles Davis of NFL Network and CBS Sports, a man with loads of contacts, thinks Barton could be very much on the mind of Licht, in part because Licht values the center position.

When Licht arrived in Tampa, he signed Aaron Rodgers’ center to a four-year contract in free agency, Evan Dietrich-Smith.

A year later (2015) he drafted Ali Marpet in Round 2 with a plan to move him to center eventually. That day came to start the 2017 season, but Marpet was a fish out of water. In 2018, Licht made free agent Ryan Jensen the highest paid center in football.

Jensen is now off the Tampa Bay books after two years of injuries and it certainly feels like it’s time for Licht to invest in center again.

So will it be Barton? Licht noted yesterday how he loves drafting trenches players. Joe wonders whether Licht will be mesmerized by Barton’s size (6-5, 313 pounds) and aggressive reputation and noted work rate.

Joe certainly can live without the Bucs drafting a stud center prospect in Round 1. But man, after Joe pouts for a night, it would be so darn exciting to have a potential beast of a center on the roster.

33 Responses to “Graham Barton And The Bucs”

  1. catcard202 Says:

    Would Barton be a Day 1 improvement over contract yr Hainsey???

    Not so sure at this point…Arians always said it took a few years to get OL primed & ready…

  2. Seth B Says:

    This would be N absolute steal if he fell in our laps. Awesome Film, love to watch him play. Check the FSU Film where he shut down Jared Verse at LT. Then check every other film, he’s a straight Mauler, plays with that chip. I don’t see him dropping that far but would love it if he did.

    I did a best available at position of need mock today and it Cooper DeJean was best left when Bucs got around to picking. Need a Run on these questionable LT’s and QB’s to get one of the top guys we’ll be targeting. 1 or 2 teams do that we’ll be golden. If not, trade back… QB needy team will want to get that 5th year or Penix. JMO.

  3. Durango 95 Says:

    “certainly can live without the Bucs drafting a stud center prospect in Round 1. But man, after Joe pouts for a night, it would be so darn exciting to have a potential beast of a center on the roster.”

    Licht spent a 2nd rounder last year on the OL. That is used draft capital. Low hanging fruit. Time for something else. A game changer with his 1st pick. No excuses. Offense needs juice. Stop w/ the safe stuff. Find a guy that can make plays. A bold step not a second bite of the apple.

  4. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Joe certainly can live without the Bucs drafting a stud center prospect in Round 1. But man, after Joe pouts for a night, it would be so darn exciting to have a potential beast of a center on the roster.

    Very honest and reasonable Joe.
    I’d take him in a heartbeat.

  5. BUCman Says:

    Trade one of our 3rd round picks and move up to 20 or 21 for Barton. He will solidify the interior for the next 5 – 10 years. We will see Baker have time to throw without the pocket collapsing on him and a much improved running game. Worth an extra third to move up if he is there. Miami at 21 is without a third or fourth round pick and may be motivated to recoup more picks. Latu or Verse would be two others worth moving up for although Verse is very unlikely to be there.

  6. Buc4evr Says:

    Barton will be off the boards as an OT before Bucs pick, he won’t get drafted as a center so just forget it. If Bucs can’t get Verse, then if JPJ is available he would be a plug and play center.

  7. Hearty Dikerson Says:

    lol “GM Aaron Rodgers”

    I really like what Barton brings to the table, but if he’s off the board at 26, I wouldn’t be shocked to see them go Zach Frazier in round 1, or grab Beebe for n the 2nd at LG and then move Mauch to C.

  8. Bucs Guy Says:

    I doubt any of the top 3 efge rushers will get past 19 (Rams). I’m concerned both JPJ and Barton will go between 20-24. If this happens, what should the Bucs do? Trade back or take Zack Frazier if the Bucs think he’s worth a first round pick. There are no other Edge rushers worth a first round pick.

  9. A Bucs Fan Says:

    Barton is a project inside. There’s a higher chance for earlier success to draft a player at that position than make him transition.

    Powers-Johnson visited on a top 30 visit today! I think either him Frazier or Haynes in the second would be a great pick!

  10. Defense Rules Says:

    No matter what we do, there’s a decent chance that the Bucs will field an OLine where none of the 5 starters are on their 2nd contract yet (Wirfs, Hainsey, Rookie Center, Mauch & Goedeke). IF it ends up that way, we’d probably be fielding the youngest OLine in the NFL. New OLine coach Kevin Carberry will probably have his hands full in his 1st season with us. Assistant OLine coach Brian Picucci might be equally taxed in his 1st season with us also. Sure to be interesting in any event.

  11. DS Says:

    If the play makers are gone trade down and draft a hog

  12. Bucsfan1988 Says:

    Don’t grab Barton!!!!

    If you can’t get your pash rusher, TRADE DOWN and grab more pics!!

    Draft Zach Frazier!! Center from WVU!!
    Dude is a stud wrestler as well and very aggressive….

  13. bucsince79 aka bumanner Says:

    Depends who is still on board at 26… Sounds like a beast… I can live with this as our 1st round…

  14. bucsince79 aka bumanner Says:

    We have not had the best luck with edge in 1st so a beast center is good,,,

  15. MelvinJunior Says:

    VERY unlikely, he’s still on the board at #26. Probably, NOT gonna happen. Will have to make a big move UP!!!!

  16. Chris Says:

    Draft Zach Frazier Rd 1 , put his tape on, absolute beast and would fit in perfect with our O line and kid is a leader , JPJ started 12 games and Frazier has 37 starts. We have to be able to move the ball and he is in the trenches dude .

  17. WillieG Says:

    If they want a running team, they need a beast at center. If they continue with the pathetic rushing attack they’ve had, they will lose a lot of fans. A running team can be fun to watch if they’re blowing people away at the point of attack and gaining 10+ yards a few times each game, otherwise it’s boring as hell.

  18. Saskbucs Says:

    I will be surprised if one of Barton, JPJ, Frazier, or Van Pran is not a Buc after the draft. Licht has to be drooling over some of these guys. Barton won’t get to us though, Steelers, Dolphins, Cowboys, one of them is snagging him.

  19. MelvinJunior Says:

    What about if Barton and JPJ BOTH, are gone… Then, WHAT!? What about if the Raiders are beginning to get just a lil bit ‘antsy’ for really wanting Penix!!!! Now, they’re starting to believe that he’s NOT going to be there, when they pick at #44…. Plus, they would like to have that “5th-Year Option” too, by the way!!!! Would they take the Bucs #26 this year, & then in return… The Bucs will receive the Raiders #44 this year, AND then next season’s (2025) 1st-Round Pick, which would be an EXTREMELY VALUABLE ‘Pick’ especially given the very good chance the “Raiders” are REALLY, Gonna SUCK. They possibly, might have to ‘sweeten’ the pie just tad tho, by throwing-in a next year’s 6th, maybe!? I think ‘swapping’ our #92 for their #112 is way too steep of price, given there being absolutely, NO ‘guarantee’ of their pick ending up being in the ‘Top-5/10’ for 2025. BUT, we could possibly, swap our #89 for their #77, THEN the #92 for the #112!? Hmmmmmm… Having the 4TH-OVERALL, Plus Our Own #8 (LoL) In NEXT Year’s 2025 Draft, Would Be CRAZY Insanely, HUUUUUGE. I think THAT’S the deal. 💯

  20. lambchopp Says:

    @Durango 95,

    Joe tryon-Shoyinka was a bold move and it flatlined. He’s great if he were a 3rd round pick, not a 1st round pick.

    BPA, no fancy potential guys, please and thank you. I hate drafting on potential in Rd 1. Screw that, get a “safe guy” who can pretty much be penciled in as a day 1 starter.

  21. Capt.Tim Says:

    Id put Barton at Left Guard.
    As we dont have one, that is a major need.

    Theres a center from Wisconsin I really like, that we could draft in the 3rd round.
    O line problems solved

  22. Pickgrin Says:

    “Jensen is now off the Tampa Bay books after two years of injuries ”

    Not even close…..

    Jensen is costing the Bucs $6M against the cap this year and $11M in 2025.

    Ryan is long gone – but the pain of paying him $26M Guaranteed for 1 very bad playoff game appearance lingers for years….

    Barton would be a great addition to our OLine if he somehow makes it to pick #26

  23. heyjude Says:

    Uncertain Barton will be there for us. He will probably go to the Cowboys.

    @Pickgrin – Thank you for the info on Jensen. So much money.

  24. Beeej Says:

    I’m more in favor of moving up from our SECOND round pick. At least one of these guys will be around at #26, certainly not at #52 (or whatever our 2nd is)

  25. westernbuc Says:

    I’m certainly not opposed to drafting a center. I just don’t buy that it’s as pressing of a need as people (Jenna Laine) are making it out to be. To the point it feels like a smoke screen.

    Licht and the Glazers use contract years as the prove-it clause. If they like Hainsey as much as Joe has said, why would they give up a year early with a premium pick?

    This appears to be a deep draft for the offensive line. Licht has a rich history of drafting value picks at offensive line in the 2nd and mid-rounds. What’s more likely to me is that he drafts a guy(s) who can play multiple positions (guard and center) to start at guard and compete at center.

    If I were a betting man (I am) I’d say Bowles wants a DB but would happily take a pass rusher. If offense, wide reciever or guard.

  26. BucsfaninOregon Says:

    JPJ or Barton or trade down.

  27. Cobraboy Says:

    I have *zero* issues in the Bucs taking a solid IOL at #26, or even dropping a few slots to do it.

    IOL is not a shiny object casuals sport wood over, but football is won in the trenches and I challenge anyone to prove otherwise.

  28. Bojim Says:

    If Bartons there, get him.

  29. Dana Says:

    If we are planning to trade our best WR, Chris Godwin, and Dallas is looking at JTS, needs a WR and wants to trade Michca Parsons seems like a no brainier.

    Give Dallas what they want in draft choices in addition to CG and JTS.
    This along with bringing in Gregory would solidify the entire defense.
    We must keep CG until June which is after the draft, so we would be giving Dallas 2025 picks.

    What am saying is we could then use what is needed this year to get JPJ, which would put us as a front runner in the NFC. Additionally, Cade Warner would need to come back because we need someone that catches the ball.

    Finally, Laird and Tucker are better true runners than White. We need to let some of our existing talent have their chance Tucker has world class speed just like Palmer.

    You can’t trade someone that is slow to be fast.

  30. Esteban85 Says:

    Great take Stevie

  31. Esteban85 Says:

    The Wisconsin center in round 3 is a viable option. Can’t go wrong with Midwest linemen. Something in the water down there. I’m in Alaska so everything is down there to me. It just depends on how the draft comes to us. Very well could be no Barton no JPJ no Latu or Verse at 26. Then what? Trade back? Then who?

  32. ThatAintRight! Says:

    I agree with Capt. Tim above , I’d definitely put Graham Barton at LG.
    I was a fan of Mr Barton this past season at Duke. An impressive O-lineman. Makes watching football more enjoyable with skilled lineman in the trenches.
    Another valid point by Cap Tim, also is very much true. We don’t have a LG and need one. We also arguably need a C also. Let’s all be honest here we can’t count on Robert Hainsey and these other backups forever being hopefully optimistic that they work out. Are we trying to win a SB or just skate by making playoffs? Lot of problems imo.

    Graham Barton , Jackson Powers Johnson, Chop Robinson, Darius Robinson. I like all of those guys at pick 26. I do not want Latu at all. No way a football player with neck injuries is something I’d be willing to go after. Nope maybe he can fall to a team with minimal needs. We have a lot of needs right now. So no thanks.

    Pass rusher or CB is an obvious need I think also but to find a star CB at the end of rd seems slim to me. Someone to replace Shaq Barrett and Carlton Davis seems like a big problem for TB right now. Kool Aid or Nate Wiggins may very well be the pick here. I wouldn’t take Cooper Dejean at CB here. He reminds me more of a safety and thats a huge setback imo.

    I know they drafted some young guys on our DL recently already in Kancey, and then we drafted that other DE I can’t think of his name in rd 2, but he’s been a bust. We had to resign Will Gholston because his performance was poor. I would take a look at Darius Robinson. Guy is a freak of nature and would be exactly what we have been missing since JPP was in town. I like him a lot. We can get some above average CBs in rd 2/3. Can’t get above average grade 3-4 DEs in rd 2/3.

    I also wouldn’t mind trying to trade up from our 3rds to 2nd and then 2nds to a first. Imagine getting Barton and JPJ. Whoa 🤯

  33. ThatAintRight! Says:

    Imagine trading up and securing both Barton LG and JPJ at C. Two bada$$ rookie OL would be huge for the offense. I would be legit happy if that’s all we get in this entire draft. Next year focus more so on CB, OLB, DE, TE, I mean in all honesty no matter which way you look at it we’re probably at least two years away from being a serious SB contender. By that time LVD, and some of these other guys won’t even be on the team. NFL is gonna have to increase the cap space soon. Probably not until next year but yeah. 👍