ESNY’s New York Jets draft roundtable circles back to the first round for final predictions on what Gang Green will do with the 11th pick.
The day NFL fans have been waiting for is finally here. Due to the outbreak of coronavirus, the 2020 NFL Draft is going to be unlike any other. When the New York Jets draft on Thursday night, general manager Joe Douglas will be doing so from the comfort of his own home.
With pick No. 11, the Jets are likely to go with an offensive tackle or a wide receiver. The common thread between those two choices is Sam Darnold. The Jets must continue building around the third-year quarterback and providing him with a beefy lineman upfront or a dynamic pass-catcher on the outside is the only way to start.
With that said, don’t be surprised if Douglas is keeping an eye out for potential trade-down options. If one of the top four tackles is off the board, it’s possible that he moves down and looks to add draft capital that can help fill out the team’s holes on both sides of the ball.
But again, if those tackles are gone, it will be difficult for Douglas to pass (no pun intended) on one of the top-three wideouts.
Mekhi Becton — LT — Louisville
The Jets are going to go offensive line early, if given the chance. Joe Douglas knows how important it is to build a strong offensive line for his young quarterback. Although he tried to improve the line through free agency, the improvements are likely to be minimal. The Jets also lack long-term pieces on their offensive line. Only Chuma Edoga will enter the 2020 season under the age of 27. That’s why it’s imperative that Douglas address this issue in the draft.
Mekhi Becton is the best run blocker in this draft class. His size and speed make him a nightmare for opposing defenses in space, and he finishes his blocks better than any offensive line prospect since Quenton Nelson. He could be an elite run blocker as early as his rookie year. That’s how dominant he was at Louisville. The same can’t be said about his pass blocking.
Becton is an incredibly raw pass blocker, as he played in an offense that focused on running the football and screen passes. He has all the tools to be an elite pass blocker, but it could take a while before his technique catches up. That makes him a high risk-high reward player.
Couple his risk with a failed drug test and it’s easy to see why Becton has fallen down some boards recently. However, Joe Douglas has shown that he’s not averse to taking high-risk players. It’s not likely that he’ll be scared off by Becton’s low floor.
Mekhi Becton — LT — Louisville
Over the last few weeks, I’ve gone back and forth on who the Jets will take at No. 11, but it’s hard to imagine they pass on an offensive lineman. The only way that seems possible is if all four guys—Mekhi Becton, Tristan Wirfs, Jedrick Wills Jr., and Andrew Thomas—are off the board.
A recent flagged drug test from Becton could have him falling down draft boards, but that could end up working to the Jets’ advantage. At 6-foot-7, 368 pounds, Becton is an absolute beast of a human being. He’s not quite as polished as some of the other tackles on the board, but he probably has the highest ceiling given his size and athleticism.
The off-the-field question marks might scare away other teams, but the Jets can’t let someone this talented slip away because of one issue.
Like most quarterbacks, Darnold is at his absolute best when he has time to throw. Douglas did a solid job of retooling the offensive line in free agency, but Becton can serve as a building block to ensure that the line is strong year in and year out.