“He’s A Brawler,” Not A Center

April 28th, 2024

An iconic offensive guru weighs in.

If you love high-level film study, order Hooters sandwiches and tots and enjoy this gem on Bucs first-round pick Graham Barton.

Former Greatest Show On Turf architect Mike Martz broke down Barton for The33rdTeam.com. Martz starts by detailing why Barton showed too much poor pass blocking technique as a Duke University left tackle. Martz is convinced Barton would get eaten alive as a tackle in the NFL, despite his 6-5, 315-pound frame.

At guard, however, Martz sees an absolute gem, and he lays it out in great detail via this video.

“Centers are uncovered a lot. Guards get covered by defensive tackles. Most defensive tackles in the league are 340 [pounds], 350, 330. That’s where he’s going to excel,” Martz said of Barton.

“He’s a big guy. He can belly-bump with these guys and brawl. He’s a brawler is what he is. He’s strong enough to get all that done. He’s got awareness. He’s got good footwork in the running game. The downside to him is ability in the passing game outside on the edge. Inside, where he can get his hands on guys right away and doesn’t have to have that vertical set, and that weight on his set, he has a much better chance of surviving. Maybe he can be a center. But I just think he’s really perfect size and strength and all that good stuff to be a guard.”

Buccaneers general manger Jason Licht says Barton is a center. Assistant Bucs GM John Spytek thinks Barton might play guard. Which is it?

Martz admits to not preferring tall centers.

Wherever Barton ends up, Joe won’t be concerned. But it would be nice if the Bucs placed the rookie where he’s most likely to dominate.

It feels like it might be criminal to place a first-round pick somewhere other than his best position.

55 Responses to ““He’s A Brawler,” Not A Center”

  1. Brian in St Pete Says:

    Spytek mentioned that none of the interior 3 are really set. We know Barton and Mauch will be in the mix, but the coaches will try them at all 3 positions until they settle into where they are most comfortable. His words. Then the OL room will compete for whichever position is left. Hell we could see Mauch at C and Barton at RG for all we know. My guess would be, however, that Mauch will remain at RG and Barton will step in at C with either Opeta or Hainsey getting the week 1 start at LG.

  2. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    Like I said earlier, I would prefer Cody Mauch to move to center and Barton to move to right guard. Mauch has a smaller frame than most NFL guards and I seriosly doubt he can add much more weight. He would be more effective at center as he has a center type body. I believe Licht said last year that Cody’s future might be at center.

  3. Ugotrobbed Says:

    Hasn’t Martz been out of football (coaching) for years now?? Gran of salt!

  4. Larrd Says:

    LG, next to Wirfs.

  5. SB~LV Says:

    I’m just a ham and egger fan,BUT , I have been calling for the Bucs to draft a center and play Barton at guard. I suspect that is how it will shake out as the best combination. The 64K question is who will play center. Just could be the kid out of UTEP or as someone suggested in the media yesterday Cody Mauch .
    How ever it shakes out the OL will be greatly improved. There were 2 centers taken a few picks before the Bucs in the draft.

  6. Durango 95 Says:

    They decided to spend a 1st round pick on a guard. It’s hard to believe a quality starting guard couldn’t be found later in this draft. This year a 1st round pick on a guard last year a 2nd round pick on a guard. That’s a whole lot of draft capital on a position that has been historically easy to fill in later rounds.

  7. rrsrqnc Says:

    I think Klein will surprise and be right there in the mix. Like I heard, let Barton play center (as I was hoping we would draft one of the top centers even after Barton), move Cody to left and Klein will win the RG spot next to Luke and the Bucs will not have to wait for the last game of the season for a thousand yard rusher. I’m hoping the RB room competition is the best in years with White, Tucker, and Bucky. I think Chase is safe due to his experience.

  8. Buddha Says:

    If Mauch improves as much as Godeke. The Buccaneers have the making of a top five offensive line and with some pretty good backups too. If you have a top 10 offensive line in a top 10 defensive line, you are a playoff team.

  9. SB~LV Says:

    I am anxiously awaiting the first look at Mauch to see if he has packed on upper body muscle, well packed is too much for one off season, but signs of progress.

  10. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Surely Licht knows where he wants Barton…..he didn’t spend his first round pick on a bull $hit tip.
    Barton will play Center and will be a brawler at Center.

  11. Miller5252 Says:

    Reading all these articles and watching video on these new Buc players make it hard to have to wait for the season to kick off. I hope Jensen hangs around and helps our new center become a beast! After this draft the question of holes being made or a RB not seeing the holes should be cleared up. If these guys are better than what we had last year ole White better be over 1000 yards.

    Had to watch Tampa win their Super Bowl against the Chiefs. The owners need to build a new statue for that Super Bowl win…. One of the main parts of the statue needs to be good ole Winfield throwin up the deuce ✌️ to cheetah. That would be the best statue ever!!!

  12. Gipper Says:

    Try the 7 round guy Klein at Center, Barton to LG, and Mauch to the bench if he hasn’t gotten stronger in upper body. Hainsey and or the free agent to RG. Goal still should be to give Baker, Jared Goff pocket time.

  13. A Bucs Fan Says:

    Barton will be a pro bowl guard. The kid from UTEP was trained by oline guru Duke Mannyweather! He says this kid, Klein, is the steal of the draft and will be a starter much sooner than later. After seeing a little tape and his YouTube interview I believe he could be a fast riser!

    After this draft, as long as they’re healthy, the Bucs are set at oline this year and hopefully for many to come. They

  14. Capt.Tim Says:

    I think Jason Licht did his usual small school Magic.
    Ive posted it already, but I think our new Center is Elijah Klein.
    He is built like a protype Center.
    Barton ls guilt like. Probowl Guard. And thats exactly what he should be.

  15. MadMax Says:

    He’s our new TE…..prove me wrong….wheres the lie? lol

  16. View from 132 Says:

    Tall center, short QB… bad mix.

  17. Buccaneer rick Says:

    Move Cody to center Barton and Elijah at guard

  18. SB~LV Says:

    “Short” QB has been playing behind tall centers his whole career.

  19. Buc1987 Says:

    He’s a center.

  20. Capt.Tim Says:

    I think JI pulled some small school Magic again.
    I think our new Center is named – Elijah Klein.
    He is built like a Center. And his tape looks like he plays like one.
    Graham Barton looks and plays like a soon to be All pro guard.

    If Elijah Was Lichts ace in the Hole- that makes this a fantastic draft.

  21. TheRealDrew Says:

    I heard Hainsey is getting calf implants.

  22. Day 1-76 Says:

    Mike Martz said Kurt Warner would never make it in the NFL.

  23. Doc Says:

    This is the N.F.L you want be mauling no one as a rookie.

  24. Esteban85 Says:

    Martz really harps on Barton not being able to be an NFL tackle, and he really doesn’t even give consideration to the center position because like Joe said he doesn’t like tall centers. Most centers are over 6’4” anyways so that’s not really a knock on a guy in my opinion. I believe a center has to have the leader intangibles and has to be smart enough to sniff out the defensive blitzes. I think Barton has what it takes between ears to be a center and he obviously has the athleticism to play anywhere on the line. This guy is a day one starting center and a huge outage from Hainsey. I don’t see him playing guard and I don’t see Jason Licht and crew valuing a guard position in round 1 of the NFL draft. Conversely I do believe they put a bigger value on centers and tackles.

  25. Kgh4life Says:


    Just because Martz has been out of football doesn’t mean he can’t watch film.

  26. Stanglassman Says:

    I agree that Barton would be a better G than C. Just like Marpet. Hopefully, someone will step up like Klein (UTEP) or Cody and play C. I hope it doesn’t take a year to figure out like it did with Ali.

  27. Esteban85 Says:


  28. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Here is a thought….maybe Barton would be a better guard than center……but if he’s the best center on the team, that’s where he should play.

  29. Capt.Tim Says:

    I forget,
    Who’s our Left Guard?
    Aaron Stennie? Nope, we cut him loose.
    matt Feiler? Noe, we cut him loose.

    So we have noone left, who played LG last year?
    Hmmm, seems like that should be a Concern.

  30. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    I would think since the Bucs had their pick of the litter to draft a center, they would draft a seasoned college center to play center and not a left tackle project to play center. After all it’s their first pick #1. When people move to unfamiliar positions, the transition takes time. No plug and play here. Especially in the pros. You wouldn’t play vita vea at defensive end regularly would you? Hainsey has got to be liking all this imo. Talk about job security. I mean how many running backs play quarterback, in the pros, and how many safeties play running back?
    The move to guard sounds much more plausible to me. Call it as you will, but I got to see this transition to center to believe it.

  31. adam from ny Says:

    barton would be fine at center if that’s where he winds up…

    he’s an inch taller than jensen…whoop dee doo…

    even tho baker’s short, the center and guards bend and crouch, never actually standing up straight in protection…therefore they all lose a few inches…

    while a qb generally stands taller, than smaller, when dropping back…

    so baker will be fine with barton in front of him

  32. adam from ny Says:

    rather than smaller*

  33. Oneilbuc Says:

    He has a point look at Kelce from the eagles low man wins in the trenches . Think about how tall Sapp and Donald was vs Gerald McCoy who was 6 “5 or something like that. I would have drafted Powers Johnson because of his height and his size. And why did Duke move him from center to LT because of his height. I really hope he plays good and be our center for the next 10 years.

  34. Oneilbuc Says:

    Your interior liman should should be 6″3 and under with strength!!

  35. All_da_way Says:

    UTEP guard should be trained at center. Keep Mauch at RG and have Barton at LG next to Wirfs so they can move people on the weakside for cut back opportunities for White.

  36. HC Grover Says:

    Sounds good to me.

  37. JimBobBuc Says:

    I see leaving Barton at center, he’s played center as a freshman pretty well and I assume he’s smart being at Duke.

    The guards will be interesting to watch in the offseason. Here’s how PFF scored some of the players:

    OL Stats PFF Grade Snaps Penalties Sacks
    Stinnie 56.6 717 4 2
    Hainsey 52.8 1102 9 4
    Bredeson 42.1 1014 6 5
    Opeta 53.2 528 2 3
    Mauch 44.7 1102 5 7

    It’s interesting that Mauch’s annual PFF grade is not as good as Hainsey’s. Maybe Hainsey would be a better RG than Mauch? Maybe Mauch’s annual grade doesn’t reflect his better play at the end of the season?

    I see three likely lineups, but there are other possibilities!

    Opeta at LG, Barton at C, Mauch at RG
    Opeta at LG, Barton at C, Hainsey at RG
    Opeta at LG, Hainsey at C, Barton at RG

    How much will Mauch improve over the offseason? He made the transition from college tackle to guard so he had a tough learning curve. How do the new OL coaches grade his play at the end of the season? He needs to get stronger for sure. Can he handle the blocking calls at center?

    Opeta is known as a stronger run blocker than pass blocker. How will he adapt to Coen’s mid-wide zone scheme?

    Will Hainsey play better at G than center? Can he get stronger over the offseason?

    Maybe start the season with Hainsey at C, and Barton at RG?

    It will be interesting to here Joe’s views of the IOL play at how Carberry looks for the best combination of interior OL.

  38. Mike Says:

    Last year Licht seemed to think Mauch would make a good Center. Perhaps he does give him a shot there and let Barton play Guard. You’ve got to get your best 5 on the field, however you have to do that.

  39. August 1976 Buc Says:

    Barton is a solid pick, he will be fine. They upgraded the center or guard position with him, we will see which one he plays.

  40. Mort Says:

    As long as Klein doesn’t S the bed, I’d love to throw him at right guard, and let Barton and Mauch figure out LG/C. Mauch played LT in college so he should be able to adjust fairly easy, and playing next to Tristan will help any guard. I’d be a little more worried about that right side, but maaaan they’ll be nasty as hell over there.

  41. Tony Marks Says:

    Barton played center his first year. A number of people are pretending like that was long ago. If Licht says he will play center I’m fine with it. He has far more expertise than the naysayers who have zero expertise.

  42. geno711 Says:

    I think best offensive line we faced last year was Detroit.
    Someone said that interior OL should be 6 foot 3 inches or under.

    LG is 6 foot 6 inches.
    C is 6 foot 5 inches.
    RG is 6 foot 4 inches.

    One of their backs is only 6 foot 3. All the rest of their backs were 6 foot 5 or more.

    Someone else said that your picks on offensive lineman should not be 1st and 2nd round. Instead that it was too much draft capital.

    Detroit’s 5 starters last year. 4 were 1st round picks. The other one was a 3rd rounder.

    Someone else said that you should move OL positions. 3 of the 5 OL guys in Detroit are playing a different OL position then they played in college.

    Lot’s of ways to win in the NFL. Building a good OL like Detroit has recently done or like Dallas did a few years back, or like the Redskins did when they were winning Super Bowls with different journeyman quarterbacks is one way to win.

  43. geno711 Says:

    backups not backs.

    Shouldn’t not should.

  44. BillyBucco Says:

    Too many cooks in the kitchen.
    Trust in the coaching staff.
    We got better.

  45. SenileSenior Says:

    Licht said Barton was to be our center. Did he misspeak? Was he blowing smoke for some reason? The draft is over for this year.

  46. Durango 95 Says:

    geno711 Says:.

    “Someone else said that your picks on offensive lineman should not be 1st and 2nd round. Instead that it was too much draft capital. Detroit’s 5 starters last year. 4 were 1st round picks. The other one was a 3rd rounder.”


    That “someone” was me but I didn’t say offensive lineman (as you claim) I said “guard”. Too much draft capital to spend on the guard position. Btw might want to check your research. Both starting guards on the Lions last season were Jonah Jackson and Graham Glasgow., Both of which were 3rd round picks.

    Which proves my point.

  47. David Says:

    100% CENTER

    They just signed 2 guards, drafted another G, and have Mauch.

    Hainsey is backup C and competing for Guard now.

  48. unbelievable Says:

    He will compete to start at center.

    If for some reason that doesn’t go well, they may move him to guard, but make no mistake he was drafted in round 1 to be a center IMO

  49. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    Center is the qb of the o-line. It takes time to learn that position. What part of this is so hard to understand with some folks on this thread? Just sayin… experience really is understated here imo…

  50. BucEmUp Says:

    Martz is garbage

  51. Particular set of skills Says:

    I don’t think we have an OL under 6’4″ & Hainsey is the shortest with Mauch listed at 6’6″…. So, if we go on height alone, Hainsey is the best fit. However, Licht seems to be a savant with OL… So as ling ad they let it play out snd best plays & more importantly, make adjustments (ie; Goedeke from rg to rt) then it should work out well.

  52. Sacker58 Says:

    Don’t discount Elijah klein at guard,he’s got the size and attitude to be good!!

  53. Joe in Michigan Says:

    I want a brawler at Center, too. It kinda worked for Ryan Jensen.

  54. BUCman Says:

    Barton was drafted to be our center. That is how they announced the pick and Jason has stated that is his intention. Cody Mauch should be moved to left guard because he was a left tackle in college and would most likely be more comfortable on the left side. Klein started 55 games at right guard in college and would transition much faster if he were to stay at the position he is accustomed too.
    Wirfs – LT
    Mauch – LG
    Barton – C
    Klein – RG
    Goedeke – RT
    Hainsey – backup C
    Bredeson, Opeta – backup G
    Skule, Walton – backup T
    We most likely will only carry 9 lineman on the 53 so one person above will have to be cut or placed on practice squad

  55. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    Our Pro Bowl MVP qb needs a much shorter front line so he’s screwed no matter who’s center. Maybe they should get Barton to get Rachida White lessons on how to be a mauler, brawler shot caller because that youngin got no dawg in his eyes or play!