NY Jets: Getting to know Mekhi Becton with help from a Louisville fan
By Justin Fried
We take a look at NY Jets’ first-round pick Mekhi Becton with help from a Louisville fan.
NY Jets fans have done their research on first-round pick Mekhi Becton.
Whether it was as extensive as pre-draft tape studying, reading draft profiles, or simply watching some YouTube highlights, we’ve all looked into who the team’s newest first-round pick is.
Perhaps you’ve simply read about him — his strengths, weaknesses, and anything else — after the fact. Maybe when his name was announced last month, that was the first you had heard of him.
No matter the case, it’s impossible to truly know a player without having watched him for the past few years. To have watched him grow and mature not only as a player, but as a person can only be achieved by those who have followed his career.
That’s why we enlisted the help of our friends over at Big Red Louie to provide some insight on the former Louisville standout. Because at the end of the day, Louisville fans will undoubtedly know him better than Jets fans.
From favorite memories to areas of improvement, we made sure to get a complete overview of Becton with the help of someone who has watched him play over the past few years.
With that, let’s take a look at the results of our discussion with Jacob Lane of Big Red Louie.
Next: 1. Favorite thing about Mekhi Becton
1. What is your favorite thing about Mekhi Becton’s game?
There are plenty of things to love about Becton’s game. From his raw power to his outstanding run-blocking, Becton dominated the opposition during his three-year stay at Louisville.
There’s a reason he was considered to be such a highly-touted prospect.
But when we asked Jacob to detail his favorite thing about Becton’s game, he didn’t immediately jump to his physical attributes. Instead, he touched on something perhaps even more important.
“My favorite thing about Mekhi Becton is the level of physicality and motor he plays with every single down. Whether it was against Murray State or Clemson, Becton was always the biggest player on the field and regardless of who was on the other side, he was going to let them know. If you watch five seconds of Becton highlights you’ll see the power and violence he plays with and it’s hard not to appreciate.”
You hear all about Becton’s massive stature and his raw physicality, but his work ethic and motor often get overlooked. But as Jacob detailed, Becton didn’t care if his team was playing an FCS school or an ACC powerhouse — it wouldn’t affect his effort.
That’s a trait that’s not only admirable, but it will allow him to have success at the NFL level. In a league dominated by freak athletes and otherworldly physical specimens, it’s often one’s work ethic that ultimately separates levels of success.
And with Becton, that’s what could help him reach his ceiling in the pros.
Next: 2. When did you realize he was special?
2. At what point did you begin to realize that Mekhi Becton was a special talent?
Becton has never had trouble standing out among a crowd. As we detailed in our “3 interesting things to know about Mekhi Becton” piece, his childhood was oftentimes shaped by his size.
Simply put, it’s pretty difficult to overlook him.
So when we asked Jacob about when he realized that Becton would be a special player, he made it clear that it didn’t take very long.
“I think we knew Becton was going to be special shortly after he arrived on campus. Not many players come to the college level at 6-foot-8, 345 pounds and that’s what he was when he got to Louisville. He played mostly on the right side of the line as a freshman, but you could tell pretty quickly that then quarterback, Lamar Jackson, was all about running to that side of the field. Moving to left tackle as a sophomore, Becton showed for the first time the ability to be a standout NFL lineman, and he did it with inferior coaching.”
Some players take a while to truly stand out in college. Others never really reach that point and are forced to claw their way through the ranks to even receive an NFL opportunity. Becton, however, didn’t have that problem.
His size immediately forced people to take attention and following his sophomore season when he started 10 of 12 games on the left side of the offensive line, it became clear that he was going to more than just a big body at the collegiate level.
Becton was a star in waiting — a future top-15 NFL draft pick. And just a couple of short years later, that prophecy came true.
Next: 3. Areas of improvement
3. What are some areas of improvement that Mekhi Becton needs to work on?
Despite the overwhelming draft hype that surrounded Becton, it was always clear that he was far from a perfect prospect. In fact, out of the top four offensive tackles in his class, he was always considered the riskiest of the four.
And with good reason.
Becton is an absolute mauler at the point of attack and few can stand up to him physically. But his footwork, particularly in pass protection, is something that he’s been forced to work on over the last few years.
The progress is evident, but there’s still some work to do. Jacob had some similar concerns about Becton’s game.
“Speed and quickness are two things you worry about with Becton at his size, but it’s something we saw consistently improve during his time at Louisville. There’s a lot of speed in the ACC but nothing like what he’ll see in the NFL, and if he’s going head to head with the Von Miler’s and Khalil Mack’s of the world, those things are going to have to improve over time. I thought early in his career he may be better suited to play inside in the NFL, considering his massive size, but last season under Dwayne Ledford he took major steps to become a faster and quicker player and obviously we saw that pay off at the Combine. He’s got every tool at his arsenal to be a great left tackle, but those two areas are things to watch.”
Again, technique is something that could be coached and improved. And Becton showed at the Combine that straight-line speed isn’t a concern. But can he stabilize his footwork and not lean into contact as much as he tends to do?
Becton loves to use his size to overwhelm the opposition, but he can certainly work on becoming more patient and back-pedaling in pass protection as opposed to reaching.
There’s plenty to love about Becton’s game, but as Jacob mentioned, there are still some areas that need improvement.
Next: 4. Favorite memories?
4. Do you have any favorite memories of Mekhi Becton at Louisville?
Becton has quickly endeared himself to Jets fans for his fun-loving persona and his masterful Twitter game. Aside from his on-field dominance, he just comes across as a genuinely nice guy which fans have certainly taken to.
And it seems as though that feeling isn’t exclusive to Jets fans as Jacob had some similar things to say about Becton during his time at Louisville.
“Usually, you don’t hear too much from offensive linemen or get to know them much as players at other positions just naturally receive more spotlight. Over the year’s, Becton has developed into a fan-favorite because of his bigger than life personality. He’s a great kid who is always smiling but plays with great intensity. So last season when Becton was forced to miss a game against North Carolina State it was brutal for all involved. But after the Cards picked up the win a camera in the locker-room post-game caught potentially the most amazing gif at all time that has become a legend in Louisville.”
Here is the gif that Jacob is referring to.
— Big Red Louie (@TheBigRedLouie) November 23, 2019
Becton’s status as a “legend” in Louisville should not be taken lightly. Plenty of collegiate athletes become beloved by their alma maters for their on-field accomplishments. But that doesn’t appear to be the case with Becton.
Not once did Jacob mention Becton’s second-team All-American honors, his first-team All-ACC recognition, or even his 2019 Jacobs Blocking Trophy awarded to the top offensive lineman in the ACC.
Instead, he focused on Becton as a person, as a character. And that alone should quickly allow him to become a fan-favorite among Jets fans.
Next: 5. Any other things we should know?
5. Are there any other things that NY Jets fans should know about Mekhi Becton?
Just to conclude our talk, I figured I’d ask Jacob if there was anything else that Jets fans should know about Mekhi Becton. Any little tidbits about his game, his personality, or anything that would allow Jets fans to get to know him better.
And this time, Jacob made sure to give a special shoutout to his family.
“Mekhi Becton comes from an amazing family, and his mom is super active on social media. She is a MUST follow for Jets fans (@semonebecton). Also, if the Jets need a star right tackle, you may want to take a look at Mr. Becton.”
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Believe me, Jacob, we’re already way ahead of you.
Jets fans got a glimpse of Becton’s father, Jerome, who was caught on camera celebrating his son’s selection in the draft. And let’s just say that we could see where Mekhi gets his size and football aptitude from.
And as for his mother, we suggest everyone follow Jacob’s suggestion and drop her a follow on Twitter if you haven’t already.
Mekhi Becton has all the talent and potential to become a perennial Pro Bowler at left tackle. But it’s his work ethic and drive to succeed that could ultimately help him reach that point down the line.
Special thanks to Jacob and the entire Big Red Louie team for sharing their insight on Becton. And I’m sure both us here at The Jet Press and the folks over at BRL will be rooting for Becton to find success.