Louisville offensive tackle Mekhi Becton is a unique NFL prospect. He's a combination of massive size and elite athleticism that most teams clamor for and could be the cornerstone for a New York Jets franchise looking to protect Sam Darnold.
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The Virginia native led Highland Springs High School to back-to-back state titles. At Louisville, he started 10 games at right tackle as a freshman, 12 games as a sophomore — 10 at left tackle and two on the right side — and garnered first-team All-ACC honors as a junior. He chose not to play in the team's bowl game to prepare for the draft.
Here are five things to know about Becton:
Louisville offensive lineman Mekhi Becton runs the 40-yard dash at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. (Photo: Michael Conroy, AP)
1. Heavyweight tackle
As athletic and skilled as Becton is for his position, his abilities are all the more impressive considering his size. At 6-foot-7 and 364 pounds, according to his NFL combine evaluation, he will be the second heaviest player in the league once he's selected. He did say, however, that he should ideally play at 350-355 pounds.
He'll rank behind Oakland Raiders lineman Trent Brown, who's listed at 6-foot-8 and 380 pounds, and in front of 360-pound Pittsburgh Steelers lineman Zach Banner.
2. Top-of-the-chart metrics
Becton was only the 43rd ranked offensive tackle out of high school, according to 247 Sports, but that didn't stop him from having an immediate impact once he joined Louisville. After beating out senior tackle Geron Christian for the starting job, Becton became one of the best freshmen linemen in the country.
He was the highest-rated overall freshman in the country through his first four games, according to Pro Football Focus' college analytics. Through the first seven, he was graded as the best pass-blocker in the ACC, allowing just six pressures through 312 snaps.
3. Almost became a Cavalier
Being from Virginia, it was no surprise Becton drew a lot of attention from the universities in the state. UVA took an early and strong interest in the tackle, according to richmond.com; he was on campus on most weekends and looked poised to commit.
Then came time for his visit to Louisville and everything changed. The city reportedly reminded Becton of Richmond, and Christian, now a rookie with the Washington Redskins, hosted Becton on his official visit and the two quickly became friends. Those two factors swayed Becton from his hometown school of Virginia to Louisville that was almost 500 miles west.
4. What's my age?
Becton was always large. When he was in kindergarten, his teacher asked him to use two foam mats instead of the customary one to sit in the group circle until his mom objected, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. When he was about 10 and played youth football, parents on the other teams continuously asked to see his birth certificate to make sure he wasn't as old as he looked.
5. Hoop dreams
While most star basketball big men have considerable height, many do not have Becton's physical strength and size. But because the Louisville product is a uniquely gifted athlete despite his large frame, Becton also starred at basketball in high school.
His mother, Semone, told the Louisville Courier-Journal that she thinks her son could have been a Division I basketball player if he wanted and that Tennessee actually discussed with Becton the possibility of playing both sports.
Louisville football coach Bobby Petrino also said that he was struck by Becton's ability to run and dunk with ease at his size and thought that display of athleticism showed he could be a force on the offensive line.
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