UNSPECIFIED LOCATION - APRIL 23: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) In this still image from video provided by the NFL, Mekhi Becton, third from right, is hugged after being selected by the New York Jets during the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft on April 23, 2020.
(Photo by NFL via Getty Images)

The New York Jets chose a blocker in the first round for the first time since 2006. What else do you need to know about Mekhi Becton?

Geoff Magliocchetti

With the 11th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the New York Jets bolstered their blocking by adding Louisville tackle Mekhi Becton.

The selection of Becton marks the first time the Jets have taken an offensive lineman with their first draft selection since D’Brickashaw Ferguson’s 2006 arrival. While many wanted the Jets to dive into the deep receiver class, they were convinced that further offensive protection was the way to go with their premiere choice.

“He brings an edge for us,” coach Adam Gase said of Becton’s selection, per the Associated Press. “He brings nasty to our offensive line room.”

The basic facts to know about Becton include his massive size (6-foot-7, 364 pounds), the accolades from his strong senior year (first-team All-ACC honors and the conference’s Jacobs Blocking Award), and his strong performance at the NFL Scouting Combine (headlined by a 5.10 40-yard dash).

ESNY goes a little deeper, inviting you to get to know the newest member of the Jets with this trio of fun facts.

Football isn’t his only sport

If Becton didn’t go in the first round of the NFL Draft to the Jets, the Knicks might’ve come calling later this summer. The 6-foot-7 Becton was a center, not on the football field, but on the hardwood during his time at Highland Springs High School. It certainly left an impression on Dwayne Ledford, Louisville’s offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.

“I tell people all the time if he had played basketball, he’d be a 20-10 person,” Ledford told Steve Serby of the New York Post. “I think that he is just now starting to come into his own. I think he’s just now scratching the surface at how good he can actually be.”

Fortunately for Jets fans, Becton opted for pigskins exploits.

He loves to cook

Some found it a little surprising that Becton was still around when the Jets’ turn began. A positive drug test at the NFL Scouting Combine could be the culprit behind the relative fall. But Becton’s ultimate vice could well be…his culinary talents?

A report from Bob McGinn of The Athletic surveyed several anonymous scouts about their blocking preferences prior to the draft. One scout was willing to slap a label of bust potential on Becton because he was as skilled with a frying pan as he was a football.

Becton credited his love of food to his mother’s cooking during the Combine proceedings in Indianapolis.

“My mom’s cooking, that’s why I’m so big,” he jokingly said, per Adam Hill of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “She can make anything, but soul food is her specialty. Mac and cheese, fried chicken, and collard greens. That’s a good plate for you right there.”

He and Joe Douglas (Indirectly) Go Way Back…to Virginia

Becton’s conversations with Jets brass might’ve gone especially well due to some local connections. His Virginia home of Highland Springs is less than five miles away from Richmond…and a 15-minute drive from Douglas’ old stomping grounds of Mechanicsville.

Like Becton, Douglas earned all-state team honors on the offensive line in high school before moving on to college success. Douglas opted to keep things local, becoming an All-Atlantic 10 blocker at the University of Richmond. Becton, on the other hand, was highly recruited by Virginia, but he opted for their ACC rivals instead.

Nonetheless, Becton was happy to take a trip down the lane of Old Dominion memories when he spoke to the Jets prior to the draft.

“When he said street names, I knew the streets he was talking about,” Becton of those discussions, per NewYorkJets.com’s Randy Lange. “There was definitely a great bond.”

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags