Mekhi Becton is big.
To be exact: Becton is 6’7 and three-eights of an inch and (give or take) 364 pounds. Keep those measurements in your head when you watch him. Let his size marinate in your brain so every morsel of his considerable skill hits your palate appropriately when you see what he can do. It is one thing to hear him (even his voice sounds big), and yet another to see him.
For a visual reference, Becton is circled here. The guard to his right is 6’4 and 297 pounds:
One of football’s best uses is to provide a place for Becton-sized people.
Like how basketball just gives really friggin’ tall people something to do athletically, football is a playground for the Becton-sized among us to display their talents. One could argue sumo wrestling does this too, but there’s one thing that sumo cannot replicate: the internal conflict Becton forces his opponents to consider.
That reverse angle drives home the hilarity when you see Becton scan the second level.
The secondary is not supposed to be the large man’s playground. Becton’s supposed to be down there in the trenches. He locks onto a target he outweighs by roughly 150 pounds, and at this point, #29 knows the jig is up. He’s simply along for Becton’s ride:
You can see the business decisions defenders are making. Here, it manifests in the misplaced hope that maybe Becton will take it easy on this rep. Maybe if you just lightly engage the bouncer he won’t straight-up throw you out of the club:
That’s a mistake.
“Big” isn’t a qualifier to excuse poor performance, as it is for some linemen. With Becton, it’s a frame to enhance the viewing experience.
This is not some oafish young man. This is an athlete capable of moving at a frighteningly sudden pace, and it starts at the bottom of his frame despite the collision often happening much higher up. Becton’s background as a basketball player serves him well (his old coach Bobby Petrino said Louisville assistants would report that he could reverse dunk).
Becton thought he would run a 5.2 40-yard dash at the Combine. He trained with Michael Johnson, the Olympic sprinter who once was one of the fastest people on the planet. Becton ran a 5.1 40.
His time and 10-yard split of 1.8 would not be too remarkable for the average-sized offensive lineman, but then again he is not of average-sized offensive lineman. NFL people will tell you his 5.1 is more impressive than a blinding fast 4.27.
He's 6'7" and 364 LBs...— NFL (@NFL) February 29, 2020
And he ran a 5.1 40-yard dash.@UofLFootball OL Mekhi Becton crushed it last night.
: 2020 #NFLCombine continues 4pm ET on @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/eiGmQpUANl
Becton’s 5.1 is the fastest time for anyone over 350 pounds in the history of the Combine. He is just not supposed to be that quick, because he is that big.
Becton uses that size/athleticism combo to put some extra punch into typical lineman activities
Whether it is unfurling his frame to gracefully cut off a defender ...
... or using his considerable leverage to uproot someone out of a spot ...
... Becton’s size allows him to put a larger twist on normal lineman activities.
There’s not much to saying a normal football player is big. Almost every player in the NFL tops 5’9, the average height for an adult American male. But Becton will be near the top on any list you’d make of the largest football players ever.
His successes may be big, but his potential failures could be too. He won’t be able to blend in on the football field with 21 other bodies, and he’ll have to continue to develop a game that can effectively use his frame as the level of play around him increases.
But once you know where he is, you cannot help but notice him. Becton isn’t too big to fail. But he is too big to ignore.