Mekhi Becton's Size, Athleticism Raises Unique Questions

Pete Smith

University of Louisville offensive tackle Mekhi Becton is physically one of the most imposing prospects that has ever participated in the NFL Draft process. At 6'7" and floating between 357 to 364 pounds, he was able to run a 5.1 official 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine, which is difficult to even fathom.

The amount of explosive strength required to be able to move that much mass that quickly is out of this world. Every year, it seems like there's another handful of offensive or defensive linemen that are able to set records in terms of weight adjusted 40-yard dashes. The specter of beating Chris Johnson's 4.24 40 is brought up every year and it's rare that anyone comes close to it, let alone can beat it. Meanwhile, it's difficult to see where the ceiling is in terms of bigger athletes going faster and faster. Enormous pass rushers running close to 4.5s and offensive linemen capable of going near 5 seconds or even beating it.

Watching Becton move, it's mesmerizing in what he's able to do, but the question teams like the Cleveland Browns will have to answer is pretty simple. Is Becton's body, particularly his joints, able to sustain that kind of weight and the pounding he's putting on them for as fast as he's moving or is he going to be dealing with injuries that wear on his body and sap him over the course of an NFL career.

To this point, there's been nothing to suggest that Becton is suffering from being so large. And it's not that he's fat, only reportedly possessing 17 percent body fat, which is only about 60 pounds. Becton is just plain old big. But as far as his bones, his joints, particularly his knees and feet are concerned, is he going to be able to safely carry that much weight over the course of his career? How will his heart hold up? And specifically for the Browns, can his stamina hold up where he can effectively execute everything in their wide zone scheme while being able to do it potentially at an up-tempo pace? 

Becton may well end up being a top five pick, potentially going as high as the New York Giants, who possess the fourth pick overall. His floor may be 11th pick, owned by the other New York team, the Jets. The Browns, who pick 10th, have met with Becton and may do so again before the NFL Draft at the end of April.

Everyone understood Becton was a truly special athlete from watching him on tape. And the show he's putting on at the combine is impressive, but only serves to confirm what everyone already saw on his tape. The real question for Becton is going to be answered by team doctors as they evaluate him.

If he's uniquely equipped to be able carry that much weight, has the heart that can keep it all working efficiently to sustain him over the breadth of an NFL career, Becton is akin to having Atlas play left tackle. He's big enough where the opponent across from is playing in the game in the dark while strong enough to carry a franchise on his shoulders. Becton is a graceful athlete with the ferocity to take the will of an opponent and whether it's for Browns or someone else, he'd be entertaining to watch for the next decade.

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