by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of Duke Athletics.
At Draft 412, the NFL draft talk never ends. We will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars—from today and all the way until draft night 2024. We will bring you mock drafts, player profiles, individual team needs, and everything else you may need related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight - Duke, Tackle, Graham Barton
Name- Graham Barton
HT/WT- 6’5” 315 lbs.
Home – Brentwood, TN
Barton was a consensus 3-star prospect out of Ravenwood High School in Tennessee. He was named the 2019 Offensive Lineman of the Year in Tennessee. Other than playing football, he also lettered two years at lacrosse. He committed to Duke over another offer from Michigan State.
As a freshman, he played in the final 6 games and started 5 of those at center. He was a big part of their running attack and was named second-team Freshman All-American by The Athletic.
In 2021, Barton started in all 12 games at left tackle and helped the Duke offense put up over 5,000 total yards.
Barton once again started every game at left tackle in 2022 and was given a PFF grade of 88.2, which ranked 5th in the nation for tackles. He was part of an offensive line which helped Duke rush for a university record of 31 touchdowns. He was named honorable mention All-American by Phil Steele, and enters 2023 as a Draft 412 preseason second-team All-American. His 2023 was not the success that 2022 was. Barton missed time due to an injury and struggled in pass protection at times for the Blue Devils.
Graham Barton is a high-effort performer who plays through the whistle on each play. He has the ability to play with strength or with speed and agility, and understands when each is needed. During run blocking, he does a good job of exploding off the ball and has the ability to do damage in the second level of the defense. He has excellent hand placement that makes it difficult for a defender to disengage. During bullrushes, he understands when teammates need help or when he will be one-on-one.
Barton’s football IQ is off the charts, and he understands angles and what movement is needed to block the opponent. He has versatility, starting a season at center and understands each position and their jobs.
On the downside, Barton has issues being overaggressive and at times, can become off-balance. He is a better run blocker than a pass blocker and needs to recognize stunts and blitzes more quickly. He can be lazy when he drops back in pass protection and tends to slow his game down during pass plays. He tends to have problems with getting beat to his inside shoulder during runs or passes.
With his run blocking prowess to go along with his hiccups in pass protection, it is easy to see Kaleb McGary as a suitable pro comparison. McGary is ranked at the top of run blocking and towards the bottom of pass blocking in his PFF grades. Barton’s high end motor and football IQ can possibly make him a better pass blocker over time.
Barton is an exceptionally smart football player who has the skill set to improve on his weaknesses. He did struggle a bit with injuries and play in 2023 and looks more like a round 3 or round 4 pick
Draft 412 Draft Prediction - Round 3 or 4