Yahoo Sports' top 2020 NFL draft prospects, No. 13: Louisville OT Mekhi Becton

Yahoo Sports


Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports
Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports

13. Louisville OT Mekhi Becton

6-foot-7, 369 pounds 

Yahoo Sports draft grade: 6.19 — potential immediate starter

TL;DR scouting report: Becton has a rare, generational combination of size and athleticism, but there are elements of his game that need cleaning up

The skinny: A 4-star Rivals recruit (and top-200 nationally), Becton chose the Cardinals after initially being under-recruited coming out of high school before the likes of Michigan, Oregon, Virginia Tech and Virginia entered the mix late.

Becton started 10 games at right tackle as a freshman in 2017, blocking for Heisman Trophy-winning QB Lamar Jackson. The Cardinals played strong and weak tackle, so Becton had experience at both left and right tackle, based on the offense’s alignment, and he started 12 more games as a sophomore in 2018.

His highlight that year might have been this rushing touchdown against Indiana State, becoming the first Louisville offensive lineman to score in a game since 2009:

Ever see a 360-pound man run for a touchdown? Well, now you have.
Ever see a 360-pound man run for a touchdown? Well, now you have.

In 2019, Becton took a major step forward, moving to left tackle permanently his junior season and earning first-team All-ACC and second team All-America honors. He also was named the top offensive lineman in the ACC.

Becton, who turns 21 this month, declared early for the 2020 NFL draft and skipped Louisville’s bowl game. He attended the scouting combine, performing the bench press, 40-yard dash and on-field work.

Upside: Rare, generational, freakish combination of size and athleticism. Outstanding height and length — 35 5/8-inch arms, 83 1/4-inch wingspan and 10 3/4-inch hands. It’s a $5 Uber ride to get around him.

Ran a shocking 5.10-second 40-yard dash at the combine, which was faster than many offensive linemen 40-50 pounds lighter. His 10-yard split (1.77 seconds) ranks in the upper third of all offensive linemen since 1999. Combine body-fat measurement of 17 percent is almost unheard of for a player even close to his mass.

Can still get stronger but has enough brute strength to toss defenders straight out of the club. Absolutely ragdolled a handful of opponents. Might not get away with that at the next level, but threw a few pro prospects aside on tape. Here was Becton (left side of your screen) against Notre Dame’s Julian Okwara — a pretty strong guy himself — in the opener last season:

Becton's raw strength and reach can tax even the best defenders.
Becton's raw strength and reach can tax even the best defenders.

Terrific lateral quickness, too. Men this big shouldn’t move so easily and fluidly. Basketball feet to skip and slide. Able to reach second level on outside runs and lead the way on screens. Overall, nice body control.

Experience at both tackle spots. Moved to left tackle full-time in 2019 and allowed only one sack (in his final game of the season vs. Kentucky). Allowed only five sacks over three seasons.

Able to bulldoze on straight-ahead run plays. Once he gets his hands inside, the battle is usually over. Keeps feet underneath him well most of the time and doesn’t lunge or overextend in the power ground game. Not much labor in his movements, even on outside zone runs.

Had some eye-opening reps against Clemson with several NFL scouts in attendance. Played consistently well last season. Lined up at tight end in jumbo packages. Can be used as a kick blocker. Well-liked and respected at the program. Tough, played most of the season through a knee injury.

Downside: Weight must be closely monitored. Checked in close to 400 pounds last offseason and struggled to make it through baseline workouts. Likely best settling in around 350 or 355 pounds. Bench-pressed 23 reps at the combine, a slightly disappointing number, even with his long arms.

Pass-protection technique remains unrefined and basic in some respects. When you’re that big you don’t always have to be the most technique-sound player, but that won’t fly as easily in the NFL. Will overset and open his hips too wide. 

Allowed rushers to cross his face inside at times. Fans out and leave cutback lanes vacant. Didn’t face a murderer’s row of pass rushers last season. Got bull-rushed by Okwara (who is 100 pounds lighter) a few times later in that Notre Dame game.

Entire setup and process needs to be a tick faster. Will miss opportunities to land initial punch against faster defenders and top-tier hand technicians. Feet tend to stop on contact at times. Needs to carry his momentum through better on blocks.

Here’s a play against Clemson where he shows he can get to the second level, but he misses his landmark and can’t properly attack the inside shoulder of the linebacker, with the guard coming around his backside. Becton isn’t able to run enough interference here, and the run play is cut down for a minimal gain:

Becton fails to hit his landmark on this run play.
Becton fails to hit his landmark on this run play.

Doesn’t offer a lot as a cut blocker on zone plays. Not a bender. Technique can get sloppier the longer games go on. Will overextend in space and lose balance at times. Gets too upright.

Bad film in 2018. Looked sluggish and didn’t finish a lot. Room for improvement in that area still, even with strong 2019 performance. For as physical as he can be, some scouts say he could play with a nastier demeanor. That might be the difference between being good and great in the pros.

Injury history is worth considering. Lower-body injuries are more concerning for larger men. Suffered a broken fibula and tibia in high school basketball in 2015 and had his right knee scoped following the season after suffering injury in September.

Best-suited destination: Becton might not be an ideal fit for every NFL offensive line, but teams that seek mass certainly will have him squarely in their sights. He won’t embarrass himself on the move, but Becton isn’t going to be favored by zone-heavy systems that seek lighter, quicker blockers.

Among the teams that could be interested: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Los Angeles Chargers, New York Giants, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, Las Vegas Raiders, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans, Miami Dolphins, Carolina Panthers, Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons.

Did you know: Becton was quite the basketball player in high school, too. In fact, he could do this:

They said it: “It’s just fun seeing a man on the ground every play and then going to jump on him. That’s what I love about the game.” 

— Becton at the combine

Player comp: Cordy Glenn or Bryant McKinnie is his ceiling. King Dunlap might be his floor

Expected draft range: Top-15 pick

Previous prospect rankings: Nos. 100-91 | 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-66 | 65-61 | 60-56 | 55-51 | 50. DT Justin Madubuike | 49. CB Damon Arnette | 48. OT Ezra Cleveland | 47. WR KJ Hamler | 46. CB A.J. Terrell | 45. RB Cam Akers | 44. DL Ross Blacklock | 43. OT Josh Jones | 42. DT Jordan Elliott | 41. C Cesar Ruiz | 40. S Kyle Dugger | 39. EDGE Terrell Lewis | 38. WR Laviska Shenault Jr. | 37. S Grant Delpit | 36. Jonathan Taylor | 35. WR Brandon Aiyuk | 34. EDGE Zack Baun | 33. EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos | 32. CB Jeff Gladney | 31. QB Jordan Love | 30. CB Trevon Diggs | 29. EDGE A.J. Epenesa | 28. RB JK Dobbins | 27. WR Justin Jefferson | 26. WR Tee Higgins | 25. S Xavier McKinney | 24. WR Jalen Reagor | 23. CB Kristian Fulton | 22. RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire | 21. WR Denzel Mims | 20. LB Kenneth Murray | 19. RB D’Andre Swift | 18. QB Justin Herbert | 17. LB Patrick Queen | 16. WR Henry Ruggs III | 15. EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson | 14. WR Jerry Jeudy | 13. OT Mekhi Becton | 12. DT Javon Kinlaw | 11. OT Andrew Thomas | 10. OT Tristan Wirfs | 9. WR CeeDee Lamb | 8. OT Jedrick Wills Jr. | 7. CB CJ Henderson | 6. LB-S Isaiah Simmons | 5. DT Derrick Brown | 4. QB Tua Tagovailoa | 3. CB Jeffrey Okudah | 2. QB Joe Burrow | 1. Chase Young

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