Jaguars make unexpected OL pick in The 33rd Team's 2024 NFL Mock Draft

• The Jaguars bolster their interior offensive line in Round 1 of the 33rd Team's latest mock draft.
2023 NFL Draft - Rounds 2-3
2023 NFL Draft - Rounds 2-3 / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

The Jacksonville Jaguars addressed a massive need when they signed Mitch Morse in free agency. Morse should provide the stability at center that the Jags lacked last year. However, bringing in the veteran doesn't stop them from taking one of the best center prospects in the 33rd Team's latest mock draft.

Marcus Mosher of The 33rd Team has Jacksonville taking Graham Barton at No. 17, noting that the Duke product has seen his draft stock soar after a jaw-dropping performance at his pro day.

"There might not be a hotter prospect in the draft right now than Graham Barton. After posing a 9.99 RAS at offensive guard, his stock is rising.

He was once thought to be a borderline first-round pick; now, there is a good chance he goes off the board inside the top 20. Barton could add more protection for Trevor Lawrence at guard or center as the Jacksonville Jaguars beef up their offensive line."

Graham turned heads at his pro day, running the 40-yard dash in 4.97 seconds and posting a 4.55-second time in the shuttle. His Relative Athletic Score of 9.99 ranks third among center prospects from 1987-2024.

A three-star recruit out of high school, Barton made five starts at center and 34 at left tackle in college. Brandon Thorn of the Bleacher Report scouting department points out that Barton has a great understanding of pad level and how to win with leverage. However, his less-than-ideal arm length makes him a better fit to play either guard or center at the NFL level. That said, Thorn thinks he's got the tools to be a dependable starter right away.

Barton is the 24th overall prospect and second-best interior offensive lineman behind Jackson Powers-Johnson in Pro Football Focus' top 300 draft board. At No. 17, the Jaguars would be in a position to take him without having to move up.

Why the Jaguars would pass on taking Graham Barton at No. 17

Graham Barton is a fine prospect, one who could most definitely help the Jacksonville Jaguars. Having said that, a few things could prevent the front office from drafting him. The first one is that they already have Mitch Morse in the mix.

Even though he's expected to compete with incumbent Luke Fortner for the starting job, Morse is the favorite to come out on top. Fortner has made 34 consecutive starts at center but has struggled in both pass protection and run blocking. Meanwhile, Morse has fared well in both areas throughout his career.

Maybe the Jaguars could move Barton to guard. The trouble is that they already have a pair of starters in Ezra Cleveland and Brandon Scherff. The former signed a three-year extension before free agency, and the latter had his contract restructured to ensure he stays in 2024. Perhaps the Jags could have him sit behind Scheff next season and plug him in at right guard in 2025. However, they have more pressing needs.

Jacksonville may want to draft a player at No. 17 that can make an impact as soon as possible. In fact, wide receiver and cornerback are more pressing needs than the interior offensive line and there's a strong chance the team's brass will address either one in the first round.

The Jags could trade down and acquire Barton if none of the prospects they like make it to No. 17. However, that scenario seems unlikely.

The bottom line is that Graham Barton would be an intriguing pick at No. 17, but based on the moves the Jaguars have made in the offseason, they'll probably go in another direction.

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