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The tape, he admits, was ‘bad.’ So Mekhi Becton took a deep look into his soul

Louisville offensive lineman Mekhi Becton blocks during a game against Eastern Kentucky.
Louisville offensive lineman Mekhi Becton’s discipline and soul for the game make him one of the top prospects of the 2020 NFL draft.
(Timothy D. Easley / Associated Press)

The Times examines the top prospects ahead of the NFL draft, to be held April 23-25.

Mekhi Becton weighs 350-plus pounds, stands 6 feet 7 inches, has a 7-foot wingspan and somehow can peel off a 5.1-second 40-yard dash.

None of that makes much sense until you learn a little about his parents.

Father Jerome Becton was a semi-pro and Arena Football League defensive tackle who is now a transportation supervisor, so he knows something about efficient movement. But mother Semone’s career may bring the best explanation for the combination of attributes that have Mekhi atop many offensive tackle draft boards.

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“She’s a caterer,” he said. “That’s why I’m so big.”

Semone’s specialty? Soul food.

The Times examines the top prospects ahead of the 2020 NFL draft, to be held April 23-25.

“She can make anything and everything,” Mekhi said. “Mac and cheese. Fried chicken. Collared greens. That’s a good plate right there. You have your starch and greens.”

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During his three years at Louisville, Becton had to learn the discipline to maintain his weight and find an extra level of aggression to block until the whistle each play. He said NFL scouts were critical of his 2018 tape, which was so admittedly “bad” that he still has heard questions even after cleaning up his performance last year.

“I have to prove to them that I love to finish,” Becton said. “The tape shows it, but I have to tell them I have the passion and love to finish. My 2018 film, it looked like I wasn’t passionate about football.”

Teams, despite their immense interest in him, are also dubious of his ability to control his weight. He would like to drop below 350, but playing above that number hasn’t hindered him yet.

“I feel I’m the most dominant tackle in this draft,” he said. “You wouldn’t go wrong picking me. 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.”

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Zack Baun was a star quarterback in high school, but Wisconsin moved him to defense and now the versatile linebacker is set to be picked in the NFL draft.

Becton won’t be fully satisfied just being a first-round pick. He wants to be the top tackle selected. Former Cleveland tackle Joe Thomas, who was a 10-time Pro Bowl selection, recently said he wants the Browns to take Becton with the 10th overall pick.

NFL.com‘s analysis views Becton as a starter on Day 1 but cautions, “With all really big prospects, weight and quickness will be concerns, but Becton’s areas of concern are correctable and manageable if he’s disciplined enough to prioritize them. He has the potential to be a good starter on either side, but the weight creates an obvious low-floor scenario.”

While weight is a possible issue, confidence shouldn’t be.

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“Just run behind me,” Becton advised. “It don’t really matter what we run as long as you’re running behind me.”


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