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Is the first round too high for a guard or center?

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah spoke to the media yesterday to discuss his final mock draft before the combine, player evaluations and fits for prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft. In his latest mock draft, Jeremiah selected LT Graham Barton from Duke at pick 31. Jeremiah explained that Barton would kick inside at guard, but when I asked about his reasoning, he explained it could be a move to center to replace Jake Brendel.

I was looking at your latest mock, and obviously, the San Francisco 49ers have offensive line issues. You have Graham Barton who started at left tackle at Duke moving over to guard. Do you feel it’s a little too rich early on, because the 49ers, even when they took Aaron Banks I felt like it was a little too high in the draft? I wanted to know your thought process on that.

I don’t necessarily think that’s too high. He started a ton of games. He’s played center. I think that’s where his ultimate best position is going to be at center. He can play anywhere. Obviously recently having played left tackle. I had a higher grade on him just to compare the two players you’re talking about with him and Banks. I had a higher grade on him. I don’t think that’s crazy. I would say when you look at the interior guys in this draft, there are other options, too. I have done more work since my initial top 50 list came out. I’ll end up having Jackson Powers-Johnson over Graham Barton, but I really like Graham Barton too, and I like Zach Frazier. I think all three of those guys would be plug-and-play guys. I’m not telling you anything you don’t know, but they’re win now, let’s go mode, and I think these guys — those three interior guys are plug and play for me.

It’s interesting to hear Jeremiah define Barton as “plug-and-play.” The offensive line needs to be addressed, but even I would say, taking a center in the first round feels too early. Draft season is in full swing, with the combine beginning Tuesday. Let the mock drafts roll in!

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