The former Ohio State right tackle was in a bubbly mood after Ohio State's Pro Day, a day on which he ran a 4.95-second 40-yard dash and showed scouts his skills after a knee injury suffered in the Senior Bowl kept the 6-5, 311-pounder from a full workout at the NFL Combine.
The marquee performance was his 40 time, which was faster than any offensive lineman ran at the combine.
"I felt like my form was good," Barton said of Friday's run. "I had a great start, I could tell. I looked over at Eric Lichter and he always has a good watch, he's real accurate usually with his times. When he said ‘.95,' I was like ‘5.95?' And he was like ‘4.95,' and I was like, ‘Oh. We're going out to dinner tonight.'"
When combined with the 34 bench press reps at 225 pounds Barton did at the combine – a number that placed him third among offensive linemen – the 40 time shows Barton has a good combination of strength and speed that will help him move up draft boards. In addition, the Massillon, Ohio, native was a four-year starter at Ohio State and was a team captain his senior season on the way to starting four straight wins over Michigan.
Barton credited his quick finish to work done with Lichter, OSU's director of football performance, during the past three weeks.
"He really is incredible," said Barton, who said Lichter helped take two-tenths off of his time. "Give a lot of credit to him. I never ran a 4.95 at 311 pounds in my life until Lichter started working with me the last three weeks."
With the day over, Barton said that it felt like he had won a game. Though a blinding snowstorm was battering Columbus, 40 to 50 scouts from nearly every NFL team were in town to check out players like Barton, Larry Grant, probable top-10 pick Vernon Gholston and a host of others including Tyler Whaley and Dionte Johnson. To be able to perform in front of that group left Barton smiling.
"When you step up to the plate in front of all of the scouts and you're able to pop off a 4.95, it's exciting," he said. "It upgrades every bit of your status. I'm expecting to hopefully get some individual workouts with some O-line coaches based on those times and a 31.5-inch vertical and my shuttles were really good, so I'm excited with how everything went today."
Barton added that the knee injury he suffered at the Senior Bowl was now 100 percent. Since that time, he has worked to get back but was forced to put off running at the combine because of the malady, a fact that turned out to be not so bad because it allowed him to spend the last three weeks working with Lichter.
Though his performance Friday should boost his draft status, Barton said he is unsure where he might hear his name called in the April draft.
"It's too early to know," he said. "You really only need one guy to fall in love with you and you'll be set. It's too early to tell. You still need to do all of the individual workouts, but I'm excited. Like I said, not being able to run in the combine was disappointing to me and I just wanted to put on a good show today and I was able to."
Barton, who has inked an apparel deal with Under Armour, said he prepared for the workout last night by watching the movie "300" and by staying on the good side of the karma police by not locking up his dog in the bathroom when he left for campus today.
Now with his goal accomplished, he'll spend the next few weeks doing everything he can to continue moving up in the draft.
"Right now you just have to work out well for the O-line coaches and really give it your best effort," Barton said. "Stay in shape, keep working hard and everything good will happen."