Free agency is a few weeks old, and the NFL combine is over. We are officially in mock draft season. And while we know mock drafts are more “entertaining” than “science,” they are fun to look at. The Athletic put out their latest Mock Draft Monday Morning, and with the 21st overall pick, Miami is selecting…


Round 1, Pick #21: Graham Barton, C/G – Duke

“The Dolphins suffered significant losses on both lines in free agency. Barton’s aptitude at all five spots gives the coaching staff flexibility, particularly with the interior line positions. Illinois defensive tackle Jer’Zhan Newton cannot be ruled out now that Christian Wilkins signed with the Raiders.”

From PFN


  • Extremely explosive athlete off the snap who channels bursts into awesome power.
  • High-level space blocker with range, energy, power, and a gnawing finishing mentality.
  • Strong, compact, and well-proportioned frame that efficiently carries its mass.
  • Has tremendous malleability and flexibility, which helps with torque and recovery.
  • Spins up dominating leg churn at contact and can violently plow defenders out of lanes.
  • Able to load his hips and torque through defenders to seal the frontside of run plays.
  • Effortless knee bend and flexibility allow him to easily acquire proper pad level.
  • Flexibility and athleticism allow him to adjust and maintain leverage through reps.
  • Can envelop rushers with a wide base while tightening his hands to anchor and control.
  • Knows how to anchor and sink his hips to take control of moving blocks in the run game.
  • Has the grip strength to sustain blocks in space and remain a factor late in reps.
  • Has shown he can combat extensions with independent hands while keeping synergy.
  • Eagerly capitalizes with physicality when defenders give up leverage to lurch into gaps.
  • Can process stunts and blitzes in pass protection and has good run-game angle IQ.
  • Has pre-existing experience at center and projected versatility across all five spots.


  • Arm length is around average, which could force a move inside at the NFL level.
  • Longer opponents can more easily get inside his frame and drive power through.
  • Sometimes widens his hands too far in his stance, further exposing himself to power.
  • Sometimes wraps his arms around opponents when driving power, risking penalties.
  • Doesn’t have elite play strength and can be displaced with power as a backside blocker.
  • Is susceptible to swim moves when lurching to attack pursuit threats off the snap.
  • Sometimes fails to recognize delayed blitzes outside, leaving paths open to the QB.
  • At times, shortens the corner by retracting his base too early on pass protection reps.
  • Occasionally, a tick late off the snap when playing from the tackle position.

The Draft Network


  • Big-time finisher
  • Exceptional physical ability
  • Dominant run blocker
  • Positionally and schematically versatile
  • Wins pass reps with conviction


  • Primarily gets beaten inside in both run and pass
  • Occasionally drifts in his pass protection on vertical sets
  • Outside hand placement is occasionally late
  • Overall consistency in pass pro

Film Analysis:

Graham Barton was a really easy prospect to fall in love with. From the very beginning of my exposure to his film, I found myself deeply appreciating his identity as a finisher. In whatever circumstances, he has a knack for overpowering opponents and displacing defenders with the help of some impressive physical traits.

Barton possesses elite physical ability in both his speed/agility and strength. What immediately stands out is his core strength. This allows him to stay coiled throughout his progression as a blocker and greatly contributes to his ability to brace against defenders. Quickly following that, Barton’s hip incorporation into his blocks is textbook. After making contact at the point of attack, he flawlessly brings his hips and gets under defenders to re-leverage himself and neutralize the defender. These qualities are what allow Barton to be so dominant in the run game.

One of the things he does that separates him is his ability to manufacture power within different facets of the game. The way you create power as a playside blocker versus a backside blocker is different; when tasked to be a lane opener on the play side in inside zone for example, Barton uses a coiled demeanor and calculated attack to neutralize his defender and create space for his back. As a backside blocker, he plays much more downhill, using a low center of gravity and forward drive to re-establish ground on the defensive side of the ball. At the second level, Barton displays rare anticipation for defenders’ pursuit angles and does a fantastic job of not whiffing or overreaching on linebackers.

In the passing game, Barton shows a lot of flashes. One of my favorite things he does is he uses a ton of variation in his set throughout a game, whereas primarily a vertical setter, he will often use a jump set or diagonal set to take the air out of the rush and will even parlay multiple sets into the same play. He plays with good foot repetition/reactivity and shows a good foundation of hand usage and strike confidence, but both are in need of improvement for the next level. The passing game is where Barton can make the most improvements in his game. For Barton to maintain or grow his draft stock, he’ll need to cut down the inside pressures. Oftentimes these pressures come as a byproduct of the vertical set, as well as poor anticipation of an inside move.

I mentioned earlier how it was easy to fall in love with Graham’s game and for me, it may be even easier to visualize his success at the next level. When I watch him play, I leave with no questions in regard to his demeanor, attitude, and football character. What makes him even more exciting is the prospect of moving him around to different spots. He has experience starting at center which opens up the conversation for him being a five-position player.

Prospect Projection: Day 1 — Pro Bowl Caliber

The addition of an offensive lineman will make Dolphins OC Frank Smith, QB Coach Darrell Bevell, and head coach Mike McDaniel sleep easier I am sure to help keep Tua healthy.


Three Draft Strategies for Miami in Rounds 1 & 2