Graham Barton A “Favorite” Pick

April 30th, 2024

“Favorite” pick.

There were 257 players drafted over the weekend in the 2024 NFL draft. Now, try to pair that down by 92 percent for your favorite picks.

That was the assignment gave Chad Rueter. So he selected three “favorite” picks for each round of the draft.

Rueter only chose one Bucs player among his 21 favorites. And it was a big one. Yes, literally.

Of his three favorite picks in the first round, No. 2 on Rueter’s list was Bucs center (?) Graham Barton.

There’s a solid chance Barton will have a better career than some of the linemen taken before him Thursday night. While maybe not a dominant force who will regularly put guys on the ground, he routinely knows his assignments and executes them with enough nastiness to ensure defenders know he means business. Barton may play center or guard as a rookie, but the Bucs should have no qualms putting him at either tackle spot, if needed, despite his average length.

Well, Joe has read enough reviews to say the following: the only way Barton should play tackle is in an emergency. So that is out.

Though the Bucs announced Barton as a center, Bucs assistant general manager John Spytek did not rule out guard. And the more Joe thinks about it, the more that makes sense.

The Bucs have had a revolving door at left guard since Ali Marpet retired. With Robert Hainsey at center, he has always answered the bell.

Yeah, Joe knows the Bucs signed two value free agents who could play left guard. The Bucs also signed a value guard last year in free agency. How’d that work out?

28 Responses to “ Graham Barton A “Favorite” Pick”

  1. Leopold Stotch Says:

    This point of contention is going to be the hot topic of the off-season and well into the season for us Bucs fans, I believe. Spytek definitely fanned the flames of the Hainsey shouldn’t be center crowd by saying Barton isn’t a lock at center. I for one, just want to see us keep some continuity on the line. Put guys in a spot and leave them be unless they are FAs and we can’t bring em back.

  2. Hodad Says:

    But Hainsey is in a contract year Joe, he’s not their center of the future. You think the Bucs are going to pay Hainsey next year to be our starting center? No they are not. Since Jensen went down, we’ve missed that linchpin in the middle badly. Now we have a new one.

  3. heyjude Says:

    Sounds like Spytek doesn’t want to commit to anything quite yet until they see how it plays out. Guessing though, Barton will play center.

  4. garro Says:

    Our free agent O line signees were available for a reason. Teams do not let top level O line walk out the door as a rule. I am not counting on either one providing anything more than competition and or depth.

    Go Bucs!

  5. Zoocomics Says:

    A couple things worth noting…and I have been in the camp that we need a better center, since Hainsey appears to be the one common denominator on our line play during both Brady’s last year and Baker’s first year. And no, White isn’t one too, he split carries with Fournette in Hainsey’s first season at center.

    Look, I’m a context guy. Not everything is equal, and I get it, Hainsey is not special, but he isn’t bad, perhaps he’s better than we think. It took a guy like Jensen a few years to develop, and even his first year in Tampa wasn’t great. This will actually be Hainsey’s third year in the starting rotation and up to this point he hasn’t had the greatest compliment of Guards supporting him, this year should be better, especially if let’s say Barton starts at LG, or one of the vets we signed. Let’s face it, Hainsey’s got solid pedigree, good size, low draft pick from a good school. The potential is all there. I’m curious how things would have gone up to this point if Hainsey from day 1 had Marpet and Cappa to his left and right? Perhaps he holds his own a bit better. Even with Shaq Mason, he hasn’t had the best supporting cast as he was trying to iron out his own game at the NFL level.

    Maybe this administration has these guys fight it out vs the idea that we anoint Barton from day 1 because he’s “the pick.” Barton is the guy, and he will be our center, but that doesn’t mean this team has to suffer as he figures out how to play against elite NFL talent while trying to hike a football. It wouldn’t surprise me what-so-ever if they leave to a competition and Hainsey ends up starting the season.

    All that being said, if the Bucs brass signed Barton in the first round to play center, then it tells me we have a problem at center, and they have seen enough from Hainsey, and this is not just about an expiring contract that we need to replace. And it appears none of the other 31 teams in the NFL were calling about a trade for Hainsey either. I guess we will see. All-in-all, line will be better this season.

  6. BucVoyager Says:

    Hainsey is terrible. People need to go back and watch the tape. He gave up pressure in Baker’s face way too many times. With Baker being a short QB, you just can’t have that happen.

  7. Beeej Says:

    We had poor play from both guard positions last year (one presumes Mauch will improve) I wonder if they’re thinking Hainsey would be ok if the players on both sides were better

  8. Lt. Dan Says:

    It’s easy me thinks. Put Barton at left guard. He will make Hainsey a better center. Wirfs and Barton on the left side. Run the dang ball to the left Liam!

  9. Fred McNeil Says:

    Who knows if Wirfs will still be here next season? Is he worth $26 million per year or maybe even more? On a way, yes. In a way, no. Bear with me. I read that the cap this year is $255.4 million. Is it really wise to commit 10% of that cap to one non quarterback? Evans is getting $26 million a year. Baker is getting $30 million this year. Sans a new part Wirfs is due $18.24 million, but he wants $26 million. That’s $74.24 million for three offensive players. That represents about 1/3 of our cap space for three players. What about the other 50 players? Why not put Barton at left tackle, trade Wirfs, and sign several very good players in his place? Or we could let Wirfs play out his option this year and tag him next and let him walk after that. Eventually that might happen with Barton, but that’s five years from now.

  10. BucVoyager Says:

    @Beeej you are right, both guards had issues. I think or hope that Mauch will improve and seeing that we addressed the o-line in free agency and the draft, I hope we will be ok.

  11. Durango 95 Says:

    Most of the projections I have seen have him at guard. Was surprised when the Bucs had him announced as a center. It only took 24 hours for them to start walking that back. Like the player but I see him as a guard. He has arms the length of a tryrannosaurus rex.

    Check out his draft day video (just posted) on YouTube. Posted by Duke Football cool behind the scenes look at him and his family.

  12. BuddhaBuc Says:

    I don’t know why people keep drudging up this “Baker is short” theme. It’s worn out. Baker is 6’1″.

    In comparison, Kyler Murray is 5’10”, Russell Wilson is 5’11”, Drew Brees was 6′ even, Aaron Rodgers and Dak Prescott are 6’2″.

    In contrast, Brock Osweiler is 6’8″, Blake Bortles is 6’5″, Jameis Winston is 6″4″ and another one of the former Bucs tall quarterbacks, Mike Glennon is 6’7″.

    The average height of all current NFL qbs is 6’3″.

    Again…Baker is 6’1. I’ll take Baker over most qbs on both these lists.

    So, please, for the love of all that is holy, stop with the Baker is short shtick.

  13. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I can’t find any analyst that doesn’t like Barton……we get an A grade most everywhere.

    We don’t have a controversy, folks……We draft Barton to be anything but a Center.

    Hainsey will compete for a guard position……LG probably, unless they move Mauch to RG.

  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    One more point……Spytek did what he needed to do to motivate all of those competing for Oline starting positions. No need to demoralize Hainsey at this point.

    I would be surprised to see him traded for a late round pick.

  15. Durango 95 Says:


    Went into the draft w/ a need at center came out of the draft w/ a need at center. Could very easily be wrong but that’s what I’m seeing.

  16. SB~LV Says:

    Durango… you certainly could be right, the OL plays the game as a unit!
    The unit in your lineup is and will certainly be better than what we saw last year.
    Hainsey will always have limitations but he has learned to compensate and will be surrounded by better talent this fall. The Bucs will sort it out and there will be experienced centers released between now and the first game.

  17. Tucker Says:

    Think Jason has no doubts that Barton is the starting center and that makes the oline better for sure.

  18. orlbucfan Says:

    Barton is versatile and will prove his worth as this OLine jells. It sure will be nice to listen to ballgames where BM knocks off those kamikaze runs. I kept expecting him to get carted off the field with a broken neck or worse. In Licht and krewe, I definitely trust.

  19. Capt.Tim Says:

    They needed a Left guard and a Center.
    They drafted one.
    Hainsey was the 34 ranked center last year.
    Left guard Stennie, and his back up are gone.
    The Giants let Bredeson Walk. Philly let Sua Opeta walk.

    We drafted Graham Barton. I think he solves the Left Guard problem.
    But even if he plays Center.
    We have a hole in the Oline, with noone qualified to fill it.

    Meybe we sign Dalton Risner to play Left Guard.
    Meybe we sign Connor Williams to play Center.
    Meybe Jason Licht thinks that Elijah Klein can play Center..

    Or meybe, like the last two years, the line still sucks. But now only half as bad.
    Because Hainsey, Bredeson, and Opeta are not NFL starters.
    And if the do start, along with our new Rookie,
    Then we will be in year 3 of a 32nd ranked offense.

    Of course, thats just my opinion

  20. stpetebucfan Says:

    @Zoocomics…Nice well thought out post! Many here do not wish to take the time to articulate their thoughts that carefully and many do not wish to read long posts.

    I OTOH have time and interest and enjoy longer posts when they are thought out and not just more moronic hyperbolic name calling…yeah I think we all are already aware that a simple letter change makes Bowels-Bowels. How amazingly creative and informative!

    @Buddha “I don’t know why people keep drudging up this “Baker is short” theme. It’s worn out. Baker is 6’1″.”

    Agree and you illustrated your point with examples. I’ve actually posted a link here once disproving the difference between “short” and “tall” QB’s. I think we’re both whizzing in the wind Buddha. LOL If the Bucs win the SB this season some posters will be here to deride Baker for being too short to hold the Lombardi high enough!!!

    @FredMcNeil Also appreciate your thoughtful post. You make a good point about where to spend the % of Cap $$. IMO though Wirfs will most assuredly be here next year. Leaving ME13 out…his future is now…going forward there are two “generational” players on the Bucs roster IMHO. Wirfs and Winfield.
    The Bucs will not lost them over $$$.

    Again I respect your points they are valid I just think the salary cap is going up and the game itself is generating so many freaking dollars that there will be enough to go around. Speaking of which am I the only guy impressed by the fact that the NFL can attract?

    The NFL draft has a new attendance record after more than 775,000 fans flooded downtown Detroit for the three-day event.

    Right now the only phenomenon more popular than the NFL is Taylor Swift and we know from our conspiratorialists that the NFL coopted here with Travis. LOL

  21. Boss Says:

    we got another thick necked white boy later…looking forward to what these guys bring

  22. 74 Bucs Fan Says:


    Hope that is our starting Oline.

    That is no slight on Luke. Ever dealt with an angry donkey? They will flat out kick your a$$!

  23. Boss Says:

    me wants to know how 74 violated the donkey to anger it so much??

  24. olboy Says:

    Hainsey has great highlight material…. For the NT’s he faces. Gimme a break; A better supporting cast of Guards will up his level of play? How does that work other than picking up his blocks for him? New guards won’t generate power for him. New guards won’t stop him from getting beat so badly he’s giving Baker a lapdance three seconds into the play. let him compete at guard. Maybe his third year will be better than the last. That would be a most pleasant surprise.

  25. Fred McNeil Says:

    Thank you for your lind words, Stpetebucsfan. The salary cap will rise, but when it does the big names will simply want every bit of it for themselves and leave nothing for teammates. Quarterback are the worst. The Josh Allens and the Bobby Herberts now command north of $50 million a year. That’s roughly 20% for one guy. Maybe if you could sign them for truly long term deals by the end of the pact their salaries might seem less onerous. Part of the reason Brady has so many rings is because he always signed team friendly deals so he could have a team around him.

  26. Jordan Says:

    Need more intelligence and leadership at center — hopefully he can make it there.

    Looks like we have plenty of competition at the guard spots. Cody was a lot better at right guard by the end of the season.

    I’d put whoever is our weakest guard from training camp and preseason at left guard, sandwich them between Barton and Wirfs to help them out.

  27. Buc1987 Says:

    BuddhaBuc..Kyler Murray, Drew Brees, Russel Wilson and Baker are all short.

  28. Larrd Says:

    Putting Barton next to Wirfs might help the team sign Wirfs, too.