Graham Barton finally checks critical box to be Steelers first-round pick

Pittsburgh finally met with Graham Barton for a pre-draft visit; Now the versatile OL prospect is firmly on their first-round radar.
Nov 11, 2023; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; Duke Blue Devils offensive lineman Graham Barton
Nov 11, 2023; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; Duke Blue Devils offensive lineman Graham Barton / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers have made it clear that they are targeting an offensive lineman in Round 1 of the NFL Draft. This is something we speculated about since the NFL Combine, and it became evident once they held Top 30 pre-draft visits with players like Amarius Mims, Taliese Fuaga, Troy Fautanu, Tyler Guyton, Jackson Powers-Johnson, and Zach Frazier

One player that wasn't on this list was Duke's Graham Barton. That changed in the nick of time.

Just one day before the deadline to host players for pre-draft visits, Ray Fittipaldo of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the Steelers were visiting with two players. Graham Barton was one of them.

Joining Graham Barton for a pre-draft visit with Pittsburgh is NC State linebacker, Payton Wilson.

If history has taught us one thing when it comes to this team is that the Steelers aren't going to draft a player in the first round that they haven't met with extensively throughout the pre-draft process.

Graham Barton is now on Steelers first-round draft radar

Prior to this Top 30 visit, Barton checked the box when it came to the formal NFL Combine meeting with the Steelers. But that wasn't enough. In order to put him squarely on the map as a legitimate first-round candidate for Pittsburgh, the Steelers either needed their brass to attend his Duke Pro Day or bring him in for a Top 30 pre-draft visit.

As much as some of us liked Barton as a prospect, it was impossible to say prior to this that Barton was a player they were strongly considering in Round 1. Now all of that has changed, and Barton is firmly on their draft radar.

Interestingly, drafting Barton in the first round would still go against one major Steelers draft trend. Since Mike Tomlin's tenure as head coach began in 2007, the Steelers almost exclusively draft players their head coach and GM have met with at their Pro Day.

For Barton's Pro Day, offensive coordinator Arthur Smith was present, as was Vice President of Player Personnel, Dan Rooney Jr. But this wasn't enough to check the visit box until the Steelers brought him into the facility for a pre-draft visit. Now Mike Tomlin and Omar Khan finally have what they need to put him on the map.

As Top 30 visits wrap up, Steelers fans can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the versatile Graham Barton now joins a short list of players Pittsburgh will consider in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft.