Versatile O-Lineman Piques Arizona's Interest

Russ Grimm is eager to add a new face along the offensive line in this year's draft. While there are more pressing areas of need, GM Rod Graves could be tempted by a versatile lineman early on the second day of the draft. Brad Wilbricht caught up with a rising Big Ten prospect in this AZRedReport.com exclusive.

Ohio State offensive lineman Kirk Barton is a versatile prospect, spending time at guard and tackle during his college career. He was a four-year starter for the Buckeyes and a two-time All-Big Ten selection. Barton is an extremely durable and reliable player. He played in 48 of 51 career games, including 42 starts.

Barton is a fundamentally sound blocker who plays with a mean streak. He displays excellent strength at the point of attack and plays with tremendous leverage. Barton's athletic ability allows him to effectively adjust to blitzes and line stunts. In addition, he is a student of the game and makes very few mistakes.

Barton suffered a knee injury during the Senior Bowl, forcing him to miss the NFL Combine. However, he recovered in time for his Pro Day workout, where he performed in front of numerous coaches and scouts.

"I was disappointed that I was forced to miss the Combine workouts. I realized my Pro Day had a lot riding on it for me," he said.

Barton knew his Pro Day would be critical to his draft stock and took full advantage of his time in the spotlight.

"The main thing I wanted to prove that I was athletic and that I could move. I weighed in at 311 pounds and I ran my forties in 4.95 and 5.01," he said. "I wanted to prove I was back from my Senior Bowl injury and that I'll be ready to work hard when mini-camps start."

Following his outstanding Pro Day workout, Barton solidified himself as an early second-day pick. Even with his draft stock soaring, Barton has stayed grounded and is excited to continue his football career in the professional ranks.

"I'm just hopeful for the opportunity to play in the National Football League. It's been a dream of mine and I just want a chance to compete against the best," he said.

Although the draft process has been long and tedious, Barton has enjoyed every minute. He's developed many new friendships, but has maintained his competitive nature.

"The draft process has been a blast so far. It's a great time because you constantly compete," Barton said.

Barton's agility and versatility would be well utilized along the Cardinals offensive line. His experience at right tackle would provide added insurance to QB Matt Leinart's blind side. Additionally, Barton's ability to play guard would provide depth on the interior.

Although the Cardinals are unlikely to select an offensive lineman early in the draft, building depth in the trenches is a top priority. Look for GM Rod Graves to take a hard look at the former Buckeye standout.


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