The New York Jets finally address the offensive line via the draft. Mekhi Becton is a physical specimen with tremendous potential.
Draft Grade: B+
It was unclear whether the New York Jets would go with a wide receiver or offensive tackle with the 11th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. They went with the latter.
By taking Mekhi Becton out of the University of Louisville, the Jets are finally using the draft to replenish the offensive line. Becton is highly-touted for his athleticism and speed, especially considering his immense size. At 6-foot-7, 364 pounds, Becton is huge for an offensive tackle. Even so, at the combine, he ran the 40-yard dash in 5.10 seconds, making him the heaviest player ever to run a sub-5.20 40.
He had his issues after arriving in bluegrass country. According to the Louisville strength trainer, Mike Sirignano, he was out of shape.
“The progression we have seen is night and day,” Sirignano says via Bruce Feldman of The Athletic. “When we arrived, he had had eight weeks off. He was overweight, and his work capacity and strength numbers were poor. And when I say poor, that’s being nice. He was 389 pounds and couldn’t make it through a warm-up. We knew he had potential, but it was gross. Over the next seven months, he worked his ass off.”
However, he worked hard on himself, lost weight, and turned into the monster that the Jets are investing in as the left tackle of the future. He has incredible feet, which is important for a tackle, and he displays amazing athleticism. Some have even referred to him as the best tackle in the draft.
Physically speaking, that’s almost a certainty. However, there are some concerns with Becton. If he were to gain too much weight in the next few years, that could hurt his longevity and overall athleticism. But he has the potential to be great if he can keep that in check. Additionally, he hasn’t been a standout tackle in terms of pass protection, and that’ll be something he must work on if he wants to be effective at his position.
Even though the Jets really do need to improve their receiving corps, they also need to protect their quarterback, Sam Darnold, as well as their star running back, Le’Veon Bell. We’ve seen the offense struggle and Darnold get eaten alive because of issues with the offensive line, especially at left tackle.
Other than potential weight issues and questionable pass protection, general manager Joe Douglas scores a B+ in his first-ever draft pick as GM of the Jets. Tristan Wirfs of Iowa State was still on the board when the Jets made their pick, and he seems to be more complete than Becton at the moment so that knocks down this grade slightly.
Nonetheless, Becton has an exceptionally high ceiling and can help solidify the Jets’ offensive line for the next decade if he stays in shape and works on his game. The good parts of his game are great, and he’ll use his strengths to give the Jets offense as much protection on the left side as possible. Fans should be excited. Douglas landed a stud.