The biggest need for the New York Jets coming into last week’s NFL Draft was filled by the biggest draft pick they made. Massive left tackle Mekhi Becton projects to be the anchor of this team’s offensive line for the next decade. He’s a big deal, in every meaning of the word.
Becton, at 6’7 and 364 pounds, became the first draft pick of general manager Joe Douglas’ era with the Jets. Taken No. 11 overall, he is a good value pick who in many ways fell to the Jets. In some ways, it was a no-brainer for Douglas.
It is funny to call a first round selection a ‘value pick.’ Especially when the team that drafted him was right outside the top 10 picks. But Becton has elite characteristics and projections; for the Jets to land him where they did is certainly quite a steal.
Projected to go as early as within the top five picks, a flagged drug test at the NFL Combine saw Becton slip down the draft boards. A player thought to be the first offensive tackle became the third selected in the draft, behind Andrew Thomas (No. 4, New York Giants) and Jedrick Wills (No. 10, Cleveland Browns).
He shot up the draft boards originally after running a 5.1 time in the 40 at the combine, a surreal number given his size. But he is also a strong, powerful left tackle who was voted the best blocker in the ACC last season for Louisville.
The Buzz: When Becton was selected, it was a huge relief to Jets fans, knowing that franchise quarterback Sam Darnold’s blindside was protected. The offensive line needed drastic rebuilding, and Becton represents the final piece to the project.
Across the board, most analysts and insiders saw this as a good, solid selection by the Jets.
The Fit: He’s the Day 1 starter at left tackle. Any more need to be said?
The team came into the draft with left tackle as their weakest position. They emerged from Day 1 with a player who has Pro Bowl potential.
Becton is gifted in ways that make him a dream scenario for most general managers. His size/speed/power combination is unreal in all three facets. Plug him. Play him.
The Concern: Certainly, the flagged drug test is an issue worth noting and saw Becton slip down the draft board a little bit. His weight is an issue as well and will need to be managed as well.
If both of these issues can be addressed and monitored by the Jets, then they might just have landed the best left tackle in the draft. He’s a tremendous athlete and fit for the Jets, but to pretend that there isn’t some risk in this pick would be foolish.
With that being said, it is a calculated risk that is promising for the Jets.
The Outlook: Douglas hit a home run here. In free agency, he did a good job of upgrading the line at four positions with value additions who each represent upside.
No one on the Jets roster, however, represents more upside than Becton. His potential to become a dominant force at left tackle is there, given the ability who showed at Louisville in the ACC, his strength and power as well his agility and speed.
His technique and footwork all need to take a step forward and he’s far from being a finished product. But right now, he steps in as a starter with the opportunity and potential to grow into being one of the best left tackles in the NFL.