The Jets have officially added their offensive tackle of the future via the draft. In the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Jets selected Louisville left tackle Mekhi Becton eleventh overall.
After the Giants and the Browns picked top tackles Andrew Thomas and Jedrick Wills Jr., their options were down to two at the position. Joe Douglas subsequently chose Becton over Tristan Wirfs, despite the latter being naturally a right tackle.
The Jets believe they’ve chosen the best remaining tackle and a player whom they can convert to the other side and have sustainability in terms of pass-protection. As with all four big-name linemen, evaluators weren’t anonymous in where he was going to land. Despite his size, there are some concerns about him. And that was even before his positive drug test.
Nevertheless, he established himself as a powerful pass-protector on the outside of the line who could take the workload of a starter even as a rookie. Even with his preferred names off the table, the big receiver-or-tackle decision looked somewhat easy for Douglas and his staff.
Collegiate Career (Louisville)
Becton is 6-foot-7 and weighs 369 pounds, by far the heaviest of the four tackle projected to go in the first 15 picks. This helped him shine while with the Cardinals due to him also staying healthy. Over three seasons, Becton started 34 games, missing just five and starting in all 13 games last year.
During his time as a Cardinal, he didn’t commit a single holding penalty and allowed zero sacks last year.
What He Brings to the Team
Becton will be a force to be reckoned with once he steps foot on an NFL field. He’s got all the traits to be an unstoppable pass-protector in the pro leagues, even without taking his size into consideration and solely focusing on on-field results. Becton’s very strong while also being quick on dropping back to take care of edge rushers.
We mentioned back in March that Becton was better-valued than Andrew Thomas and teams take him for a more consistent player. Back then, this was justified. Not only is Becton big and strong but he uses these successfully on the football field. Since then, a lot has changed – Wills and Wirfs fell, Thomas’s value rocketed and this came to effect during the real thing. Watching the film has unwrapped many strengths which the Jets need to improve upon, such as his terrific run blocking. It’s true that not getting Thomas will bring down Le’Veon Bell‘s projections.
However, that’s no knock on Becton’s run blocking. Louisville very rarely used zone blocking as a scheme for the running game. That was despite running their attack through the ground for the majority of the time. Even when Becton had to go beyond the line of scrimmage, through the middle of the field, he was a good blocker. He’s certainly no Andrew Thomas on outside runs. However, he’s not a liability, either.
Overall, he has very few weaknesses, which indicates a balance between the components that the successful offensive lineman needs to master. Even if he doesn’t deliver when it comes to supporting the ground game, his pass protection is the name of the game here. One of his well-documented issues is the hand technique but that doesn’t seem to affect evaluators who think highly of Becton.
Strengths and weaknesses
Strength – Power
Weakness – Hand Technique
How He Fits With the Jets
Taking a left tackle was always going to make the tackle situation interesting in New York. George Fant, whom the Jets signed to a three-year, $30-million deal, played left tackle with the Seahawks. Becton also starring on the left for the better part of his career. There could be a little drama but don’t expect surprises.
The Jets settled on Connor McGovern, Alex Lewis, and Greg Van Roten for the interior part of the offensive line. Therefore, the candidates for the two tackle positions are down to Fant, Becton, Chuma Edoga, and, possibly, Brian Winters. Edoga was a draft pick last year. Both him and Winters, a starter at right guard for the past four years, could take over right tackle duties.
However, the Jets are unlikely to go that route. They’re paying Fant $30 million and got Becton is the first round. Therefore, both come to 1 Jets Drive to be the starters. Moving Fant over could cause problems as he’s started just 14 games in the past three years. On the other hand, Adam Gase would like to get the really best he can out of Becton at left tackle. That seems to be the only dilemma coming off that first-round pick.
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