Back Louisville’s Mekhi Becton’s Exciting Draft Stock

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Louisville’s Mekhi Becton’s Exciting Draft Stock

By Dave Holcomb
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Mekhi Becton is a top 10 talent who performed so well at the NFL combine that he’s perhaps the most exciting offensive linemen prospect of the last five years.

It’s been five years since an offensive linemen went in the top 5 of the NFL draft. That’s not to say there haven’t been elite offensive linemen available in recent draft classes. But at the very top of the draft, at least in more recent years, teams usually focus on acquiring a quarterback or pass rusher. The occasional skill player sometimes hears his name called that early as well.

In all likelihood, 2020 will become the fifth straight year where the first linemen comes off the board after pick No. 5. Once again, quarterbacks are in high demand, and there’s some split opinions on who should be the top offensive linemen anyway. That could lower the draft stock of the entire group.

Still, it’s hard to call former Louisville offensive tackle Mekhi Becton a consolation prize. While likely not a top five selection, he’s a top 10 talent who performed so well at the NFL combine that he’s perhaps the most exciting offensive linemen prospect of the last five years.

Standing at 6-foot-7 and about 360 pounds, Becton is enormous even by offensive tackle standards. In college, he simply outmuscled the competition, especially with his wingspan that’s just shy of seven feet.

That wingspan measured at 83-and-a-quarter inches at the combine, which was, believe it or not, only sixth among offensive tackles. However, Becton’s wingspan is the longest of all the offensive linemen projected to be first-round picks.

Perhaps more importantly, Becton’s arm length of 35-and-five-eighth inches was ranked even better among his peers (fourth among tackles). It’s hard enough to get around his big frame, on top of that, he also has long arms. He was the fourth tallest tackle at the combine too.

As impressive as those measurables are, pairing them with his 360-pound body is what makes Becton a truly incredible physical force. Among the offensive tackles that had longer wingspans than him, on average, Becton outweighed them by about 50 pounds.

Simply put, Becton is a mammoth of a man. From a pure size perspective, he’s comparable to Las Vegas Raiders offensive tackle Trent Brown, who has experienced tremendous success in the NFL.

That, though, is just the beginning of what makes Becton a truly unique and exciting prospect. In addition to his frame, he has quick feet, an athletic makeup and speed that’s rare for offensive linemen of any size.

At the NFL combine, Becton ran his 40-yard dash in 5.10 seconds. That was outside the top 10 among offensive linemen at the combine, but when taking into account his size -- again, he’s 50 pounds heavier than a lot of his peers -- his speed is very impressive.

His 10-yard split times while running the 40-yard dash were unofficial 1.80 and 1.77 seconds. Without context, those splits are average among linemen as well, but once more, at his size, it’s hard to beat those times.

For comparison, Brown ran the 40-yard dash in 5.29 seconds at 355 pounds in 2015. Although it didn’t help him get drafted before the seventh round, that 40-yard time was considered fast for his size during that combine.

The skinny at called his weight a potential weakness if discipline becomes an issue for Becton. But the rare athletic ability he showcased at his size during the combine should probably put to rest a lot of those concerns. Brown is listed at 380 pounds and is entering the second year of a four-year, $66 million deal with the Raiders that made him one of the highest-paid offensive tackles in the NFL.

That’s not to say Becton is going to follow in Brown’s footsteps, but Brown’s success has laid a path to Becton immediately receiving a chance to start in the league.

Unlike Brown, Becton was a great college player too. At Louisville, Becton earned first-team All-ACC honors in 2019. So he’s not arriving in the NFL as a prospect only with an impressive combine performance; Becton has “the tape” to support what the measurables say.

They suggest Becton has the potential to be a massive, athletic force on an NFL offensive line for years to come.