Draft Prospect Preview | OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville
Weight: 369 pounds
Louisville left tackle Mekhi Becton declared for the NFL Draft in December and is projected as a first-round pick on several early mock draft boards.
In 2017, Becton started 11 out of 13 games during his freshman season and was, per their draft guide, Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded freshman. He also was recognized as one of the ACC’s best pass blockers allowing only six quarterback pressures out of 312 snaps.
Becton went on to start every game at tackle for the remainder of his collegiate career. In 2017, he was part of an offense that finished third nationally and averaged 245.1 yards on the ground. Becton continued to contribute strong blocking and even got an opportunity with the ball in his hands, scoring on a one-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter against Indiana State.
In his final season, Becton was named first-team All-ACC and also captured the Jacobs Blocking Award given to the conference's best blocker.
Ranked as Pro Football Focus' 67th best player on their big board, and the fifth rated offensive tackle, PFF notes that the Louisville offense this past season was run and play-action heavy, noting:
Becton’s 73 true pass sets were 40 fewer than anyone else. On the flip side, his eight pressures allowed though on those true pass sets were the most. Having had to flip sides based on the strength of the formation as a freshman and sophomore didn’t help Becton’s development, but that’s still more projection than we’d like at the top of the draft.
Becton offers impressive size and power, and considering his build, he moves better than you'd expect for a man of his size. At times he can dominate at the point of attack, especially in the run game where he seems to move defenders off their marks effortlessly.
As a pass blocker, Becton needs a little more refinement to his technique, as noted in PFF's review, above. Like most young offensive tackles, he's vulnerable against speed rushers.
According to some draft analysts, Becton projects more to right tackle at the next level, where he's probably going to have a better chance of becoming an instant starter. If NFL teams are in agreement, then Becton can likely expect to hear his name called on Day 2.
Why He's a Fit
The Giants need offensive tackles. In an ideal world, they come away with their two starting tackles of the future. But this is the real world, and the more likely scenario will see them draft a young left tackle who stays at the position n the NFL and flip Nate Solder to the right side if they go offensive tackle in Round 1.
There is also the likelihood of the Giants trying to land pending UFA Jack Conklin, who is only 25 years old and who is likely going to be more polished than any young offensive tackle the Giants could start on the right side.
Getting back to Becton, the second-highest ranked tackle by WalterFootball.com behind Georgia’s Andrew Thomas. Becton's being a mauler in the running game certainly has to be appealing to a Giants team that's looking to dominate with the running game.