The NY Jets will be expecting big things from the colossal Mekhi Becton in 2020.
The NY Jets made the massive selection of the even more massive Mekhi Becton in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft with the hope that he could provide some stability to the long-term future of the left tackle position.
Really since the retirement of D’Brickashaw Ferguson, the Jets have run through a host of stop-gap options at the position never finding a true long-term solution. Becton, however, has a chance to be different.
A second-team All-American and first-team All-ACC selection in 2019, Becton put himself near the top of every draft board following an incredibly impressive junior season at Louisville.
Becton was among the very best in a top-heavy offensive tackle class and his selection at No. 12 overall was hardly surprising. He’s far from a perfect prospect, but the tools and physical attributes are there for him to become an All-Pro at the next level.
The future looks bright for the former Louisville star, but what about the present? What should Becton’s outlook be for the 2020 season and how could he ensure that he puts together a successful rookie campaign.
Let’s take a look.
How Mekhi Becton can find success with the NY Jets in 2020
It’s unrealistic to expect Becton to step into a starting role in the NFL and immediately become a Pro-Bowl-caliber player. He isn’t a plug-and-play superstar like Quenton Nelson, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t project at that level in the future.
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For Becton, his future success will depend on his development over the next few years. How quickly he can clean up his footwork, how effective he is at improving in pass protection, and how he manages to make full use of his athleticism are all things he must focus on.
But from the very beginning, Becton should find a lot of success as a run-blocker.
At 6-foot-7, 364 pounds, Becton has had no issues mauling defenders and opening up huge holes for his running backs in college. And don’t expect that to change in the pros.
Becton has been described as a prototypical people-mover as evidenced by his college tape. Personally, I haven’t seen an offensive lineman with tape that’s as fun to watch as Becton’s since the aforementioned Nelson.
It’s just a joy to watch a man absolutely dominate his competition by tossing them to the ground with ease. Anyway, I digress.
In terms of run-blocking, there isn’t much that Becton must work on. Sure there are concerns about his leverage brought on by his massive size. Sometimes Becton doesn’t get low enough to the ground allowing defenders to avoid him far too easily.
But run-blocking is the strength of his game and that should continue in the NFL. However, his development as a pass-protector will be what truly makes or breaks his 2020 season (and his career for that matter).
Becton’s pass sets are inconsistent. His biggest issue seems to arise from overzealousness as he often engages too quickly as opposed to pivoting backward and letting the play develop more.
Essentially, he’s a little too eager to block in pass protection — likely a product of his eagerness to maul dudes in the run game. That can be cleaned up, but it’s likely we see a few embarrassing missteps early in his career.
His size and lateral athleticism allowed him to make up for his technical deficiencies more in college. But the NFL is full of athletic freaks and Becton will need to show that he offers more than just his size in pass protection.
Moreover, he needs to become more active and forceful with his hands in his pass sets. His arm length was enough to keep him in front of most edge rushers in college, but becoming more consistent with his punches will be critical to him taking the next step in the NFL.
Ultimately, Becton has every opportunity to develop into one of the best offensive tackles in the league. But there are certain aspects to his game that require cleaning up.
And his success in 2020 will really depend on how quickly he is able to grow as a pass-blocker. Working out the kinks in his footwork/hand-placement and becoming more patient in his pass sets are the key to unlocking his full potential.
That growth won’t come in one season — especially one where his development will likely be limited by an unorthodox offseason.
But if he can show significant improvement in year one, then the Jets will feel much more comfortable about him as a long-term starter.