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Why Daniel Jeremiah favors Graham Barton for the 49ers’ first-round draft pick

Feb 22, 2024 at 3:03 PM--


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NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah recently unveiled his updated mock draft, pinpointing the San Francisco 49ers' offensive line as an area for improvement. In his draft scenario, Jeremiah projects the 49ers selecting former Duke left tackle Graham Barton, envisioning a transition to guard in Kyle Shanahan's offensive scheme. However, some have questioned whether Barton warrants a first-round selection.

On Thursday, Jeremiah addressed these concerns in a conference call with reporters, defending his choice of Barton within his mock draft.

"I don't necessarily think that's too high," Jeremiah stated. "He started a ton of games. He's played center. I think that's where his ultimate best position is going to be—is at center. But he can play anywhere, obviously, recently having played left tackle."

Similar doubts arose in 2021 when the 49ers opted for guard Aaron Banks in the second round. Jeremiah sees Barton as a better player than Banks and envisions the athletic Duke product seamlessly transitioning to the interior, thriving in Shanahan's system.

Jeremiah notes he has a higher grade on Barton compared to Banks, stating, "I don't think that's crazy. I would say, when you look at the interior guys in this draft, there's other options, too. I have done more work since my initial top 50 list came out. I'll end up having [Oregon C] Jackson Powers-Johnson over Graham Barton, but I really like Graham Barton, too, and I like [West Virginia C] Zach Frazier. I think all three of those guys would be plug-and-play guys."

Acknowledging that the 49ers should be in "win-now, let's-go mode" in 2024, Jeremiah stresses that Barton, Powers-Johnson, and Frazier offer teams ready-to-go options, aligning perfectly with what San Francisco may be seeking in the draft.

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