NFC Notes: Graham Barton, Jonathan Mingo, Ruke Orhorhoro, Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers


Buccaneers HC Todd Bowles explained the transition first-round C Graham Barton has made from playing tackle in college to being the anchor of the offensive line at center.

It’s a heavy load, especially after playing tackle for three years and then going against a defense that does a lot of things,” Bowles said via the team’s website. “This will be a good baptism for him, as far as getting ready for the season. I think he’s learned a lot, I think he’s eager to get in pads and really show what he can do physically. He’s a smart guy.

Barton discussed the biggest adjustment for him so far as he transitions to the NFL. 

“I wouldn’t say it’s the biggest surprise, but the depth and the detail at the NFL level of what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, technique, fundamentals, tips and tricks, things like that,” he said. “How much more there is to the game of football, I guess, that you didn’t always understand in college. So, learning that has been the biggest leap, going through that.”


Falcons director of pro personnel Shepley Heard recalled conversations he had at Clemson regarding third-round DL Ruke Orhorhoro.

He’s always been that guy,” Heard said, via the team’s website. “They’ve always talked about him the same way, whether it’s, ‘This guy brings the energy. This guy is one of the hardest workers on our team. This guy is one of the best leaders on our team.’ It’s always been consistent with that guy.”

Falcons DL coach Jay Rodgers said Orhorhoro does some things “that others can’t do” and his value as the anchor in the defense is already starting to show up.

There’s a lot of plays that come his direction that have to go elsewhere,” Rodgers explained. “And when you start to see that presence in the middle of the defense, that’s of value to an NFL team, especially us.”

Heard added that the team feels that Orhorhoro is just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential.

You feel like he’s almost a piece of clay that you can continue to mold,” Heard said. “And we feel like he’s going to continue to get better and better. Of course, that’s what we hope.


Throughout his rookie season, many around the league were critical of Panthers WR Jonathan Mingo‘s route running. Mingo feels that sentiment was taken too far and has the utmost faith in his ability to get open. 

“I think overblown,” Mingo said, via Joseph Person of The Athletic. “At the end of the day, I know I can run routes. I feel when it comes down to it, I’m a good route runner. I know what I can do when it comes to route running.”

“People might try to say stuff. But when teams come to play us, they watch film, too. So they can see what routes are coming off (receivers’) splits. People don’t know game. They’re on the outside looking in. Just like we can see a defense and know what coverage they’re in. I know I can run routes. You’re not going to win all of ’em, but I’m damn sure gonna win the majority of ’em.”

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