Connect with us

2024 NFL Draft

Possible Steelers First Round Target Graham Barton Could be Top 15 Pick

Possible Pittsburgh Steelers first round pick Graham Barton is reportedly going up NFL Draft boards lately.



Pittsburgh Steelers 2024 NFL Draft Prospect OL Graham Barton

The Pittsburgh Steelers are already hot on the trail and preparing for the 2024 NFL Draft. The draft board is becoming more transparent with the Pro Day circuit already nearing its end and the NFL Draft under a month away. But Steelers offensive coordinator Arthur Smith is making a key trip to Duke Pro Day on Thursday to watch Graham Barton.

In the past Barton has played at left tackle and center, but he played at center in 2020. That is only one year of experience, though most teams say Barton will shift inside. The Steelers are unlikely to draft a guy who will project as a guard, so if they draft Barton, it will be because they view him as an interior offensive lineman or believe he can stick it out at tackle.

And on Thursday, he showed out at his pro day. Scouts had him marked at between a 4.94 to 4.97 40-yard dash, while he posted a 4.54 20-yard Shuttle time and 7.31 3-Cone time at his size. In other words, Barton tested like an elite athlete.

He’s a talented, smooth mover. And Barton, with all of his experience, has become one of the more polished players in this class. You can compare him closely to Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski from the 2023 NFL Draft. But his potential center capabilities make him extremely intriguing for a team like Pittsburgh if they believe they are stuck in between where Jackson Powers-Johnson and Zach Frazier will land.

Jordan Reid of ESPN believes that Barton is gaining steam across the league and could be a Top-20 pick.

“Duke offensive lineman Graham Barton had his pro day Thursday and wowed evaluators in attendance. At 6-5 and 313 pounds, scouts had times in the 4.94-4.97 range for his 40-yard dash and an impressive 7.31-second three-cone drill. Barton is viewed primarily as a center, but many scouts who I talked to mentioned the Titans’ Peter Skoronsk as a comparison. Some evaluators say Barton could go inside the top 15, pointing to a lack of versatile interior blockers in this class. (I have him ranked at No. 26,” Reid wrote.

Barton’s tape is fantastic. It is more about where he actually ends up playing, but many teams have projected him as a center. That’s not a surprise, but keep it in mind that the Steelers are all about versatility along the offensive line and Barton checks that box with flying colors. It does at least open up the possibility of picking Barton and pushing James Daniels to center, too, though it would be likelier that Barton would be the one to slot in there.

With Pittsburgh having so many questions about the center position, Barton might be the most ready to start from day one player out of anyone in that group, even with the lack of true center experience, his technique should be able to play at any spot.