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5 Things to Know About Jets 1st-Round Draft Pick Mekhi Becton

Louisville Tackle Is a Big Man Who Is Hungry for Greatness and Has Bonded with GM Joe Douglas

Louisville offensive lineman Mekhi Becton sits on the bench during the NFL football scouting combine, Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, in Indianapolis. (Aaron M. Sprecher via AP)

Fans of the Green & White watching this year's one-of-a-kind "virtual" draft saw Jets GM Joe Douglas hug his family in his home office after the Jets selected huge, fast tackle Mekhi Becton to help protect QB Sam Darnold, open holes for RB Le'Veon Bell, and be a major mover and shaker in the offense of Coach Adam Gase and coordinator Dowell Loggains.

Much is known about Becton but much remains to be learned. Here are five details about the size/speed monster from Louisville:

1. Home Cooking
Why is Mekhi so huge? Well, one reason is his mother, Semone, is a professional caterer. Her specialty: soul food. Becton confirms he loves to cook and eat. In fact, Becton has said she's the reason he's so big.

Some scouts and draft observers were critical of Becton's weight but he's shown he can master his weight. The Courier-Journal reported that in 2018 he checked in at 390 when Louisville strength coach Mike Sirignano and team nutritionist Emily Artner took over and laid out a plan. Becton bought in and got down to this past year's playing weight of 369. At the Combine he tipped the scales at 364 before ripping off his 5.1-second 40. And he said Thursday night he's at 363 and that his ideal playing weight "is about 355, 350, in that range."

Until that happens, at the moment he's unofficially the second-largest player in the NFL, behind Raiders T Trent Brown (6-8, 380) and ahead of Steelers G Zach Banner (6-8, 360).

2. But He's Hungry for More
"To me there has to be something there that drives you and you have to let that passion just ignite what it is you're wanting to get," Louisville O-line coach Dwayne Ledford said of Becton this week. "The first thing when I talk or call Mekhi, [I say,] 'If you want to be the best, what are you going to get out of this?' And his response is always, 'Coach, I want to be the best out there.' I firmly believe that everything that he's going to do is working towards achieving that goal.

"Now he gets to do that on the highest level and on the biggest stage, and to me that's the thing because it's one thing getting there, but I think Mekhi, he is really driven. He wants his name to be mentioned with some of the greats to ever play the game. I think that's really important to him."

3. Almost a Cavo
Another distinction for Becton is that he's the first tackle taken by the Jets in Round 1 since they plucked D'Brickashaw Ferguson out of Virginia with the fourth pick of the 2006 draft. "Brick" started all 160 regular-season games the Jets played from 2006-15 and played in three Pro Bowls in his 10 seasons as the Green & White quarterbacks' blindside protector.

Interestingly enough, Becton hails from Highland Springs, VA, and almost wound up going to UVa, according to Virginia was very interested in bringing him in, and he spent a lot of time on campus — until he visited Louisville, which reminded him of Richmond, and met senior tackle Geron Christian. The two became fast friends, and then he beat out Christian for a starting job as a freshman.

4. Guys From the 'Hood
We know this had nothing to do with Becton's position as the top player on the Jets' draft board when they selected, but in the small world of the NFL, it's still amazing that Douglas grew up in Mechanicsville, VA, a suburb of Richmond, and played ball at the U. of Richmond. Highland Springs is nearly the next town over from Mechanicsville.

"When he said street names, I knew the streets he was talking about," Becton said of Douglas. "There was definitely a great bond."

5. He Was That Close
Becton at No. 11 didn't quite gain the distinction of being the highest-drafted player in Louisville history. That honor was and continues to be held by DT Amobi Okoye, who was the 10th overall pick of the 2007 draft by the Houston Texans. But Mekhi did snap the Jets' Cardinal draft record. The highest player they ever drafted out of UofL was S Calvin Pryor 18th overall in 2014.

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