Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
The 2019 Arizona Cardinals were the 6th worst team in the NFL at protecting the QB, with a sack rate of 8.6% (league average 7%), and haven’t made any major moves to improve the lackluster line in free agency. As a result improving the OL through the draft is imperative, luckily for the Cardinals there are a quartet of talented linemen worthy of being selected 8th overall. In terms of other positions, Isaiah Simmons and Derrick Brown are really the only other players in consideration for the Cardinals at this pick (Young, and Okudah have zero chance of making it out of the top 6, the Cardinals are set at QB, and the Hopkins
fleecing trade makes WR unlikely) and in this draft scenario both Simmons and Brown are off the board. So based on Positional Value, Team Need, and Best Player available the choice to select OT is clear, and luckily for the Cardinals they get their pick of the bunch.
In the 2020 draft, there are 4 tackles that clearly stand out above the rest: Mekhi Becton, Tristan Wirfs, Jedrick Willis, and Andrew Thomas, and while you can’t go wrong with any of them, to make it came down to selecting the player who I felt had the highest ceiling, and that is Mekhi Bectton.
Becton burst onto the national radar this past combine, when he ran a 5.1 40 yard dash which may not sound all that impressive until you realize he was the biggest guy at the combine coming in a monstrous 6’7” and 367 lbs. And when you watch the tape Becton knows how use every ounce of his monster frame.
Becton’s biggest strengths are easily his size and athleticism, especially in the running game. Becton often treats the opposing defender as a rag doll, throwing them around the field as he pleases, and especially in the running game does a great job of getting upfield and attacking the second level, looking to create an explosive run.
While Becton’s technique in hand fighting is inconsistent with placement and timing, as he can sometimes get too aggressive, Becton is able to rely on his massive wingspan and power to still have an effective punch, and shows a great ability to transition from his initial punch to a sustained block locking them down for the rest of the play.
Becton truly shines in the running game, where he is able to use his size and power to truly dominate, the defenders either pancaking them or blocking them so far downfield they often end up of screen. And Becton’s athleticism allows him to get up field and in space on screens to create space for the receiver, unfortunately Louisville’s offense did not use pulling tackles often, but judging on his play on screens there is not a doubt in my mind he would exceed at that as well.
The last positive for Becton is versatility, while Becton prominently played LT at Louisville he started several games at RT early in his career, and throughout the 2019 season Lousiville would run Becton on the right side, and run an unbalanced line. It is important for the Cardinals to select a tackle with RT experience, as they paid DJ Humphries to start at LT for the next 3 years.
Becton’s greatest strength is also probably is biggest weakness, in that his size allows him to relay on pure power over technique and as a result is easily the least refined pass blocker of the top 4 tackles. Becton’s unrefined technique will sometimes lead to him throwing his weight around while off balance allowing him to get pushed around by small defensive lineman.
He has a tendency to play a little too relaxed in pass protection, often waiting for the opponent to initiate contact. This is mainly a result of his massive size making smaller college athletes unwilling to challenge him, that he would lose the initial contact against more aggressive defensive linemen, and lacked the technique to recover effectively. I also noticed some struggles with picking up stunts, and blitzers at times.
The last concern with Becton is his weight, and will he be able to maintain a healthy weight throughout his NFL career. This to me is not something I am worried about as while he was at Louisville, Becton improved his weight and body fat every year at the university and is something I fully expect to see him excel at with access the NFL training and nutrition.
That being said when you watch the tape, there is far far more good then negative on Becton, while Lousiville didn’t play a stacked schedule in the ACC. I charted his games for negative run and pass plays against Clemson and Notre Dame, easily the two best teams they played last year.
Against Clemson Becton had 5 negative grade snaps.
3 Run Blocking failing to hold a block in space.
1 Hurry allowed where the he stopped the initial speed rush, got beat inside, but still allowed enough time for a 40 yd pass,
1 QB hit that resulted in a INT, off of a stunt where the running back took out becton on a chop block
Against ND, Becton only had 2 negative snaps
1 Run Blocking failing to pick up a stunt
1 QB Hit allowed failing to pick up a LB blitzing off the edge.
Drafting Becton is a very risk prospect, as there are easily safer tackles in this draft, but none of them possess the ceiling that Becton does as a prospect. Becton coming from Louisville did not have access to the same level of coaching, that other top tackles have had, so he will be coming to the NFL more raw in technique, but at 20 years of age you are not drafting Becton to be a day 1 pro-bowl player, but on the belief that with a year or two of coaching he will become an all-pro tackle. The Cardinals are a young team, looking to be competitive in 2020, but are several pieces away from being superbowl contenders, so they should be focused on the long term best prospect, and in my mind, no other tackle in this draft has as much all-pro potential than Mekhi Becton, and that is why he clearly should be the first tackle chosen.
Do you approve of this pick?
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2020 BGN Mock Draft Order
1) Bengals (grantspectations): QB Joe Burrow
2) Washington (ablesser88): EDGE Chase Young
3) Lions (CMG97): CB Jeff Okudah
4) Giants (selgae aihpledalihp): LB Isaiah Simmons
5) Dolphins (dceagles): WR CeeDee Lamb
6) Chargers (dapeltz13): QB Tua Tagovailoa
7) Panthers (wardbell92): DT Derrick Brown
8) Cardinals (drc242): OT Mekhi Becton
9) Jaguars (Palaniappan K M):
10) Browns (WentzAndFolesFan):
11) Jets (Dr_Horrible):
12) Raiders (Phillysolo)
13) 49ers (eagles0132):
14) Buccaneers (BuckeyedEagles):
15) Broncos (J. Wil):
16) Falcons (Kephas)
17) Cowboys (PhillyBirdGang):
18) Dolphins (dshelton5):
19) Raiders (fredhugo):
20) Jaguars (ItownBallers22)
21) Eagles (20Safety_Hazards)
22) Vikings (Kramerpoo):
23) Patriots (Phoenix X Minimus)
24) Saints (big DUB):
25) Vikings (MrW254):
26) Dolphins (SemperFilly):
27) Seahawks (mattywils):
28) Ravens (Dirtybirdy47):
29) Titans (mr_england):
30) Packers (Nishant R SambhiReddy):
31) 49ers (Fly Like An Eagle):
32) Chiefs (Leo Bedio):
Now it’s time for you to vote for who YOU think the Cardinals should pick in the 2020 BGN Community Consensus Mock Draft.
Who should the Cardinals draft at No. 8?
This poll is closed
2020 BGN Community Consensus Mock Draft
1) Bengals: QB Joe Burrow
2) Washington: EDGE Chase Young
3) Lions: CB Jeff Okudah
4) Giants: LB Isaiah Simmons
5) Dolphins: QB Tua Tagovailoa
6) Chargers: QB Justin Herbert
7) Panthers: DT Derrick Brown