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 Senior Bowl and Shrine Bowl already in the rearview mirror. NFL Network’s Cynthia Frelund released a new mock draft on Friday, and it has the Steelers landing versatile Duke offensive lineman Graham Barton.
“I have multiple models I use in my analysis during draft season. Among them is the model I use to make picks for mock drafts, while another helps to estimate where a player will actually end up; the latter focuses more on coaches/GMs/franchise historical trends. That model projects Barton to go in Round 2, but that could be in part due to interior linemen often being undervalued in the draft — or at least not viewed, compared with other positions, as being worthy of a first-round pick. Barton is at his best when he’s combo blocking, pulling and when the defensive tackle is head on. He definitely has the potential to upgrade the Steelers’ run game, which would certainly please new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith,” Frelund wrote.
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.
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.