Former Springer Becton drafted 11th by the Jets

April 24, 2020
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USA Today

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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT)- The draft format was different, but the result for former Highland Springs star Mekhi Becton was the same as it would've been had he been in Las Vegas.

Becton was drafted by the New York Jets with the 11th overall pick in Thursday’s first round of the NFL Draft. He’s the first graduate of Highland Springs to be selected in round one. It marks the second straight year that a local product has gone in the first round, after Clelin Ferrell went No. 4 to the Raiders in 2019.

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The 6'7", 364 lbs offensive tackle was one of the most prized offensive line prospects in this year's draft field. Becton chose to forego his senior season at Louisville to put his name in the event. He sat out the Cardinals' bowl game so he could focus on preparing. The defining moment of his pre-draft activities may have been at the NFL Combine in February, when, as the heaviest player taking part, he ran a 5.1 second 40-yard dash.

Becton helped lead the Springers to two state titles during his high school career and committed to Louisville in 2017. He earned first team All-ACC honors following his junior season and won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, given to the best blocking lineman in the ACC. He joins a Jets team that finished 7-9 this past season and hasn't seen the playoffs since 2010. Becton will be looked upon to protect quarterback Sam Darnold.

This year's NFL Draft was handled differently because of COVID-19. Instead of front offices gathering in war rooms and personnel heading to Las Vegas, where the draft was originally scheduled to be held, general managers and front office members watched the event, communicated and made selections virtually and in seclusion.

The Redskins had the second overall pick and selected Ohio State defensive end Chase Young, who many considered the best player in this year’s draft field. Young amassed 16.5 sacks in 2019 and was a unanimous All-American. Washington’s defensive line now includes five first-round draft picks.