In preparing for training camp, Jets first round pick Mekhi Becton shows that he's 'an outlier'
In drafting Mekhi Becton, the New York Jets not only addressed a position of need in taking a franchise left tackle, they also got a prospect who is perhaps the most physically intriguing offensive lineman of the past decade.
To say that Becton, an All-ACC selection last year at Louisville, is a physical freak of nature, is to put it mildly.
Ahead of the NFL Combine in late February, Becton had been working out in Texas with Duke Manyweather. Arguably the nation’s top trainer specifying in offensive lineman, Manyweather has worked with some of the biggest names in the NFL over the years. He calls Becton “an outlier” and “something special.”
“I’ll say this, he has some characteristics and traits of many of the all-time greats,” Manyweather told Sports Illustrated’s Jets Country.
“He has a chance to be special if he can recognize his potential and of course, stay healthy.”
One look at Becton’s workouts with Manyweather shows a player with physical qualities that simply can’t be taught. Last week in video obtained by SportsIllustrated.com, Becton shows off not just his strength but his agility.
His 255-pound strict overhead press left Terron Armstead, a Pro Bowler each of the last two seasons, shaking his head in awe.
Manyweather’s facility in Dallas attracts some of the top offensive linemen in the NFL each offseason, and not just draft prospects.
In terms of future teammates, Becton knows two from the Manyweather facility. Jets fourth round pick Cameron Clark, a tackle out of Charlotte who projects as a guard, did his Combine prep with Manyweather. Jets guard Brian Winters also trains there during the offseason.
At the NFL Combine, Manyweather’s work with Becton turned heads, transforming the left tackle from Louisville from a late first round pick to a player who fell just outside the top 10 picks. Becton could have gone earlier in the draft had it not been for a flagged drug test at the combine.
At the Combine, Becton raised eyebrows when, all 6-foot-7 and 364 pounds of him ran a 40 time of 5.10. There was talk that he could be the first offensive tackle off the draft board and go within the first five selections.
Instead, the flagged test meant he fell to the Jets at No. 11, a team that had rebuilt their offensive line this offseason but were still missing an elite left tackle. In Becton, perhaps the most physically gifted left tackle to enter the NFL in quite some time, the Jets have a player with the potential to be a franchise left tackle for the next decade.
After the combine, Becton’s workout shifted from prepping for the 40 and individual workouts to getting ready for the NFL season and specifically, training camp. But it wasn’t a drastic shift in the workout regimen said Manyweather.
“[The] Focus remained the same the last few months. We wanted to make sure he was stable, mobile and flexible, that way we could safely and effectively continue to build absolute strength and functional power,” Manyweather said.
“We also had a heavy emphasis on movement quality as it related to any dynamic movement like running, jumping and change of direction, which directly piggybacks what we do with our offensive line specific type skill work.”
Manyweather said that when Becton left for Jets training camp, he weighed 364 pounds. His body, the trainer said, was 18 percent.