University of Louisville offensive tackle Mekhi Becton was selected in the first round and No. 11 overall by the New York Jets in the NFL Draft Thursday evening.
Becton is the eighth first-round selection for the Cardinals since 2014, and the first player taken in the first round since cornerback Jaire Alexander and quarterback Lamar Jackson were the No. 18 and No. 32 picks by Green Bay and Baltimore, respectively, in the 2018 draft.
Becton is Louisville’s 22nd draft pick overall since the 2014 draft.
A 6-foot-7, 364-pounder, Becton is the highest offensive lineman drafted offensive lineman and the third taken in the first round in school history, joining Eric Wood (2009) and Bruce Armstrong (1991). Armstrong was the previously highest drafted offensive lineman in school history when he was selected No. 25 by the New England Patriots, while Wood was drafted by Buffalo as the No. 28 selection.
Becton is only the fourth UofL offensive lineman taken since 2015, and the first since Geron Christian was the No. 74 pick in the third round by Washington in 2018.
“I can’t express how happy I am for Mekhi and his family to be a first-round selection,” UofL head coach Scott Satterfield said. “There aren’t many people that are that big that can move the way he does, and he has such a bright future. He really answered a lot of questions on the way he played this year, and to his credit, he put all the work in to be one the best in the country. He’s just scratching the surface with his potential and he has the opportunity to be an outstanding tackle in the NFL for a long time.”
Becton was a three-year starter at Louisville, starting 34 games at left tackle since signing with the Cardinals in 2017. A first team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection in 2019, Becton was also voted the winner of the 2019 Jacobs Blocking Trophy, which is given to the top blocker in the ACC.
The third-year player was named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week on Oct. 7 after his performance in the 41-39 victory over Boston College, which snapped the Cardinals’ nine-game conference losing streak. He graded out better than 80 percent in eight games and registered over 60 knockdown blocks to help the Cardinals finish the season at 8-5 and 5-3 in the ACC — a turnaround of six games from 2018.
A native of Highland Springs, Va., Becton was a dominating force in Louisville’s resurgent offense. The Cardinals finished the regular season having one of the nation’s top offenses in the nation. He has paved the way for running back Javian Hawkins to rush for 1,525, the school’s first 1,000-yard season by a running back since Bilal Powell in 2014 and the third-best total by a freshman in league history.
Becton led a Louisville offense that ranked tied for second in scoring offense in the ACC (33.1), third in rushing offense (212.1), and fourth in total offense (447.3).
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