Bucs Briefing is back, with breakdowns of three prospects that I believe the Bucs will target in the 2020 NFL Draft – if they’re still on the board. Talking to people at the NFL Scouting Combine gave the Pewter Report team a great idea of where the team is focused with two months to go before draft day.

Things I feel confident in:

• Tampa Bay wants to take multiple offensive linemen in the first four rounds, and one of them will be a guard/center.

• Running back is a target position as early as Round 1 or 2 depending on how the board falls.

• The Bucs may select a quarterback, but likely not until Day 3 as a developmental prospect.

• General manager Jason Licht feels good about the safety room, even if Justin Evans doesn’t return this season. That said, a Day 3 pick makes sense to me if the team’s best free safety isn’t healthy.

• Licht and head coach Bruce Arians love the wide receiver class. I doubt they target one early, but if there is a sudden run at tackle or running back and a receiver they love is on the board in Round 2, all bets are off. Wouldn’t surprise me to see them go best player available if it’s a receiver, especially if Breshad Perriman walks in free agency.

Let’s have some fun!

Round 1, Pick 14

Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville

Height: 6-7

Weight: 364

Class: Junior

D.O.B.: 4/18/99

Statistical Profile: Becton started 21 games at left tackle and 12 games at right tackle during his time at Louisville, flipping sides in the midst of many of those 33 games during his freshman and sophomore seasons. Finally settled on the left side during his junior year, Becton earned a First-Team All-ACC nod after a dominant campaign.

Scouting Becton: Everyone raves about Becton’s size and movement skills for being a big guy, and I get that. But we have a few mammoths in almost every draft class at tackle, so that part really isn’t new. What is different about Becton is that his mobility is functional to his position, which makes it more than just raw potential.

While Becton admittedly took far less true pass sets this season than the other top offensive tackles in the class, he looked more than capable of quality, smooth footwork out of his stance. The big man covers a lot of ground in his first step, but never looks labored or out of control in his movements. Becton just looks collected on every rep, from his footwork to his well-timed strikes in pass protection.

Where Becton could run into trouble is against speed-counter rushers who want to work him up the arc only to cross his face back inside. He’ll have to be more prepared for these situations in the NFL, as few college rushers he faced were capable of countering in a way that could challenge him. That won’t be the case in the NFL.

Becton is straight up fun to watch in the run game, despite the fact that Louisville didn’t even run a lot of vertical blocking concepts. In a zone-heavy attack, Becton’s assignments were typically simple: kick out the end man on the line of scrimmage on the frontside of runs, cut the B-gap defender on the backside of runs. Becton was elite at creating torque with sudden, powerful hands to uproot force defenders and extend gaps inside of him for the ball carrier.

In every game I watched, Becton found ways to finish despite moving laterally, staying under control and balanced while devastating defenders with his punch. Yes, he’ll need work on latching and sustaining especially if he plays in more of a gap scheme, but he even flashed in that area when he did get some base blocks in.

What is crazy about Becton is that guys his size normally overextend or get off balance often, getting the job done on size and athleticism, but not necessarily technique. Becton just looks so smooth and measured in all that he does, yet still offers that devastating power. That makes him highly effective in space against even smaller targets, a rare gift for a man that big, whom quicker defenders would usually evade with relative ease.

One area he’ll need to improve is picking up and communicating twists up front. Becton was hit or miss in that area, sometimes missing his assignment and allowing pressure when the protection scheme got more complicated.

Because he hasn’t had a ton of pass protection experience at Louisville in their play-action, run-heavy offense, Becton will face somewhat of a learning curve in the NFL. Football character and intelligence will need to be measured closely by teams during his interview process. Becton, who had a formal interview with the Bucs, should be classified as somewhat of a risk, even if what we’ve seen is pretty impressive at this point.

Bucs Fit: Becton has played both tackle spots during his time at Louisville, so that flexibility should be really attractive to the Bucs. He would plug in at right tackle as a rookie, then could potentially take over for Donovan Smith at left tackle whenever the sixth-year pro moves on.

I’ve talked about the risk involved with Becton; it’s very real and he needs to be carefully vetted by the Bucs front office and coaching staff during the next couple months. Can he learn to vary his pass sets? Is he coachable? Will he continue to keep unnecessary weight off his frame?

Louisville OT Mekhi Becton

Louisville OT Mekhi Becton – Photo by: PewterReport.com

Without knowing the answers to some of those questions, I think Becton looks a lot like the type of player the Bucs would love to have on their squad in 2020 and beyond. He’s massive, plays with an edge, fills a huge need and fits the on-field demeanor of the trench players Licht has tried to add to this roster through the draft and free agency Vita Vea, Alex Cappa, Ali Marpet, Ryan Jensen and Ndamukong Suh – all nasty, physical players who bring it snap-to-snap.

If I’m a betting man, Becton is the offensive tackle from this class most likely to leave Round 1 as a Buccaneer – if he’s still on the board at No. 14. I wouldn’t rule out trading up for him either, especially with so many tackle-needy teams ahead of the Bucs.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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Alldaway 2.0
1 year ago

Good mock projection of what the Bucs want to do in the early rounds on offense.

Defensively, Bowles likes collecting safeties like BB of the Patriots so I would not be surprised if the Bucs draft another safety.

seat26
1 year ago

Bechton will be long gone by 14, I believe.

LIBucsFan93
Reply to  seat26
1 year ago

as will Taylor in the 2nd round.

seat26
1 year ago

I think Bucs will likely take two OL in the draft as well. It is possible that the top 4 will all be gone by the 14th pick, however.

Alldaway 2.0
1 year ago

R. Lawrence is a good fit for what Bowles wants from his front seven defenders.

SufferingSince76
1 year ago

When Licht feels comfortable, I feel uncomfortable.

Gatordoc1
Reply to  SufferingSince76
1 year ago

wear looser pants? That should be more comfortable, however no cure for the roller coaster ride of Licht’s drafting

Captain Sly
1 year ago

No way all 4 of those Tackles are off the board before #14. Especially with all the skill position players at the top QB,RB, WR,CB,DE…
Personally I hope that does happen because that’ll push Brown, Kinlaw, Okudah or QB down to #14 and now we’re in the Catbird Seat!

Dman
1 year ago

If Brown is there at #14 sprint that card up to Goodell. Then go OL next two picks.

Alldaway 2.0
1 year ago

@Captain Sly

I agree 100%.

If there is a run on OTs that means Kinlaw or Brown falls into the Bucs lap. And if Love rises as high as people believe Herbert may be in play at 14 overall.

Captain Sly
1 year ago

With all this RB talk, I hope Detroit, Miami, Washington, NY Jets fall in love. If that happens the rest of the League can Celebrate!

awwdembucs
1 year ago

IMO all this is academic, until we know who the hel! will be the QB and who the Bucs sign in FA. Speaking of QB, Hurts looked good to me. Let him learn 1st year and turn him loose in 2nd year. Defensive will have to but a player to spy him opening up the run game and passing game.

Captain Sly
1 year ago

Jalen Hurts can be this years Dak! I am okay with that pick in the 4th round after we’ve taken at least two offensive Linemen ahead of him.

Dman
1 year ago

Capt, I agree with your Dak comparison for Hurts and would take him as a later round QB pick than the kid out of Iowa.

awwdembucs
1 year ago

C sly Hurts was projected as 3rd to 4th before the combine.

The Wall
1 year ago

I think Jon Ledyard should be our GM- just sayin.
Great analysis of Becton.

BigSombrero
1 year ago

The 4th best tackle is as good as the 5th-12th. Very little separates them. Wirfs and Wills look like future busts that cost some future head coach their job.

BigSombrero
1 year ago

Jalen Hurts can be this years AKili Smith.

LIBucsFan93
1 year ago

Hasn’t Licht felt comfortable with the Bucs OL for years. Be afraid, be very afraid.

LIBucsFan93
1 year ago

Becton and Taylor won’t last until the Bucs select in the 1st and 2nd round. Thus this article makes no sense. Jonathan Taylor solidified himself as a 1st round pick with his combine workout. Chase Young along with CB(2), OL(4) and QB(4) are going to push some good players to the Bucs at #14. I highly doubt Becton will be one of them.

MikeJ813
1 year ago

I have Nick Harris sliding a bit but my Mock after the combine:

1st Rd: T Tristan Wirfs OL‬
‪2nd Rd: (JK Dobbins or Jonathan Taylor) RB, Josh Jones OL (OJ howard trade)‬
‪3rd Rd: Lenoir-Rhyne SS‬
‪4th Rd: Antonio Gibson WR, Nick Harris OL (Comp pick)‬
‪5th pick: Nate Stanley QB‬
‪6th pick: Shaq Quarterman‬

MikeJ813
1 year ago

I also believe Hurts will slide I think he is a sneaky 4th round pick if so my mock changes to hurts instead of Harris 4th round and Jon Runyon instead of Stanley 5th round

Alldaway 2.0
1 year ago

Nick Harris to me is more of a 4th/5th rounder but I wouldn’t be upset if the Bucs draft him in the third round. A future starting center for a third round pick is more reasonable than blowing the pick on projects or a limited RB as Licht has done many times.

As for Hurts, he has a strong combine so he is going to be a 2nd/3rd rounder now IMO.

DrT1066
1 year ago

A more realistic pick at #14 Please.
No way Becton is there!

FLBoy84
1 year ago

Completely agree that we come out of the draft with both a G/C and an OT, likely in the first two days. Really like Ruiz and Cushenberry in a late 1st/early 2nd trade-up scenario involving OJ or Brate.

geno711
1 year ago

So for some reason ever since Philip Rivers and the LA Chargers parted ways, the media has the LA Chargers taking a quarterback in the 1st round. Makes sense – But… I think their coach likes Jalen Hurts in the 2nd. Why Jalen Hurts? Because he is a RPO quarterback and that is what Lynn wants. I do not have any inside information. It is a wild guess and I say it to be somewhat different than conventional thinking. I say that because he brought Tyrod Taylor over from Buffalo and then has been saying that he can win with… Read more »

Horse
1 year ago

Jon, A 6′ 1″ guard/center isn’t going to happen in the NFL anymore. We have tried them many times and they don’t work.
Can’t wait for you to be out there this Summer and feel the heat and humidity, then you might be thinking differently about some of your choices.

surferdudes
1 year ago

Jon, since you’re new here let me tell you Justin Evans isn’t our best FS. I don’t even remember the last time he played. He showed flashes when healthy, but there’s the rub, he’s never been healthy. The only reason he’s still a Buc is because Licht doesn’t want to add another 2nd round bust to his resume. With a QB class loaded with talent waiting till day three to pick one might come back to bite us in the ass. Of course as someone else posted until we figure out the most important position on the field it’s hard… Read more »

jcscycles
1 year ago

Great analysis, Jon! Really like the idea of getting Taylor in Round 2 (or Round 1 if the OT’s are gone). He does go down a bit quicker than some other backs, but then so did Emmitt Smith, Frank Gore, and lately Adrian Peterson. All these guys and Taylor make sure they always fall forward. This trait is why the higher amount of carries Taylor had in college won’t impact him as much. Anf if Becton is there for us at #14, I hope Jason Licht runs to get the selection in. Becton will immediately solve the Cam Jordan pproblem,… Read more »

SaskBucs
1 year ago

This would be great but I agree it is very unlikely at this point.

owlykat
1 year ago

If we lose Jameis and can’t move up to get Justin Herbert in the first round, I would also be happy with FIU’s star QB, James Morgan, from the East West Shrine Game who can be gotten from the 4th to the 5th round. He is tall and cool in the pocket and a rocket for an arm and is also mobile. I would get him even if BA brings in a veteran QB to start. Otherwise, Jones would be fine at OT and we could get him trading down in the first round and pick up an extra second… Read more »

a-bomb
1 year ago

The only way I would draft Harris is if he came here pre-draft and lined up against Vita Vea in one on one drills and held his own. Seriously doubt that could ever happen (holding his own, that is).