Mock drafts have been focused on the offensive tackle position for the New York Giants throughout the draft process. The tackle predicted at fourth overall has been changed on a nearly weekly basis, but tackle has been a consistent selection.
NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah was among the first to pick Louisville’s Mekhi Becton for the Giants at the top of the draft, but that selection became much more common after an 40-yard dash. Becton isn’t just a massive, and massively powerful offensive tackle, but he is also a true athlete with rare movement skills for a player his size.
Does the rest of Becton’s game match up to his considerable stature?
Prospect: Mekhi Becton (OT, Louisville)
Games watched: vs. Notre Dame (2019), vs. Boston College (2019), vs. Clemson (2019), vs. Wake Forest (2019)
Starts: 33 (11 in 2019
Red flags: “Flagged” sample at 2020 NFL Scouting Combine
Best: Size, frame, play strength, athleticism
Worst: Technique, consistency
Projection: A starting offensive tackle in a man-gap system, with eventual scheme versatility.
Becton has a truly rare blend of size, power, and movement skills. Becton measured in at 6-foot-7 ⅜ inches, 364 pounds but carries his size well, with his weight evenly distributed between his upper and lower body and carrying little “bad” weight. He has good movement skills, showing the ability to mirror pass rushers, kick-slide effectively, run laterally in zone blocking schemes and move freely at the second level.
Becton is a powerful player who can use his punch to disrupt pass rush attempts, at times completely knocking defenders off their rush with just his punch. He also can torque and throw defenders, finishing plays with pancake blocks. His size and play strength allow him to easily anchor against bullrush attempts when he plays with good leverage.
He is also a good run blocker, able to easily drive defenders off the ball and create movement along the line of scrimmage. He was rarely — if ever — asked to pull, but his athleticism should make that a viable option at the NFL level.
Becton needs to develop more consistency as a blocker. He can be prone to losing leverage when playing against particularly athletic pass rushers. In those cases he can lose his knee bend and hip level, compromising his leverage and making it possible for EDGE players to run past him or drive him back with a power move. Likewise, Becton sometimes lunges when a technically polished pass rusher deflects his initial punch. In those cases, Becton’s size can work against him and balance may become an issue. He also needs to do a better job of landing his initial punch on opponents’ chest plates and not give up his chest plate. Becton occasionally loses track of defenders during stunts, twists, or blitzes.
Becton had a sample “Flagged” at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine.
Overall Grade: 6.7 - Has rare physical traits that should make him a starter right away, but also needs development to fully unlock those traits. An early first-round value. [Grading Scale]
Becton projects as a starting offensive tackle in the NFL, ideally starting in an offense that favors man-gap blocking principles. With coaching and experience, he should gain true scheme versatility and the ability to play in both man and zone blocking schemes.
Becton has the athletic ability to play, and excel, in zone schemes, but inefficient and inaccurate blocking on the move could hold him back early in his career.
Becton has a truly rare combination of size, strength, and athleticism, perfectly embodying the archetype of the “dancing elephant.” His size and power are evident, and they belie his movement skills.
It is easy to become intrigued and enamored with Becton’s athletic upside, but he is not yet a finished product. He can physically dominate most pass rushers at the collegiate level, but Becton struggles against athletic or technically advanced rushers. While he can completely disrupt a rush with a single punch, he is quick to abandon his kick slide and turn his hips when faced with speed on the outside, making it much easier for the rusher to pressure the quarterback, as well as creating an inside rush lane. Becton is also prone to lunging at defenders when they can use their hands to deflect his initial punch. There are too many instances in which Becton has a player initially blocked but is unable to finish the play, and his man is the one who makes the tackle.
Becton might have the highest upside and ceiling of any offensive lineman in this draft, but he has work to do to maximize his potential.