Nick Mangold Talks Mekhi Becton Unknowns, Jets Drafting Top-10 Center

Nick Mangold

Getty Former New York Jets center Nick Mangold on February 1, 2018.

As fans, we all have our opinions on what the New York Jets should do this offseason. We also have our theories about the players who are already on the roster.

Sometimes we’re right, sometimes we’re wrong, but that passion is the lifeblood of this industry.

Legendary Jets center Nick Mangold is now a fan, as he himself has admitted, and he joined WFAN’s Tiki & Tierney yesterday on January 18 to chat everything Gang Green.

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Should the Jets Draft Linderbaum?

There was one obvious question that co-hosts Brandon Tierney and Tiki Barber had to ask the two-time first-team All-Pro center during this exclusive interview. Should the Jets shell out a potential top-10 pick for Iowa product Tyler Linderbaum? — A blue-chip center that many see as a can’t miss prospect.

Tierney posed whether Mangold could justify taking a center at No. 10 overall “if he’s as good as we think this kid is?” To which the former Jets star responded:

Yeah, if he’s as good as we think he is [and] I think that’s one of the big things — the Jets have kind of an advantage here, being able to coach the Senior Bowl. They’re going to be able to get a look at a bunch of these guys and get a good feel for them so I think that’s a huge help. Top 10, I believe I was a top-10 pick — I wasn’t but I like to believe it [29th overall pick in 2006]. I still would like to be the highest center picked for the Jets but if it is as good as they say he is and it’s worth it, I would be afraid that someone’s going to try and jump up and get him. Because I think teams have put a little bit more emphasis on finding a center and if this kid is the all-world center that they claim he is, I think he’s gonna go early.

Tierney added that he believes the Indianapolis Colts drafting three-time All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson at No. 6 overall in 2018 has completely changed the landscape and he might be right. With how many first-round busts there tend to be in the NFL, why not select a guarantee that can grow with your rookie quarterback for years to come?

The Draft Network’s Kyle Crabbs compared Linderbaum to Jason Kelce, an 11-season NFL starter with four All-Pro honors and a Super Bowl ring. He wrote: “[Linderbaum] is a highly polished, highly cerebral and dynamic weapon on the offensive line that presents some unique traits that could make him a game-changer in the middle of your offensive front.”

And get this! Crabbs originally scouted the Iowa product as a “wide-zone-exclusive fit that would make sense for the coaches [of] the Shanahan tree” — *cough, cough* Mike LaFleur. The analyst later admitted that Linderbaum is good enough to adapt to any scheme, but he still likes a Shanahan system as his perfect match.

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Concerns About Becton, Mims?

From there, Tierney went straight to another offensive lineman, getting Mangold’s take on the ongoing situation with left tackle Mekhi Becton.

“That’s why I don’t like when teams or players say — I’ll be back in four weeks — because if you come back early, [people say] oh you’re just trying to show off [and] if it takes you six weeks, they’re like why’d it take you so long to get healthy?” Mangold began. “So I hate when people put out the timeframe and I think having that injury, there might have been something else that doesn’t have to be put into the injury report because he’s not practicing, he’s already not playing, they can keep it a knee. So maybe he re-injured it, maybe there [were] issues there. I was disappointed that he wasn’t able to get back… This is a big offseason for him too where he can get healthy and prove to the Jets that he deserves to play.”

Tierney followed up with a great question, asking if Mangold believes Becton “loves football.” Motivational concerns have been one of the frustrating rumors surrounding the big-bodied blocker and I thought the center’s answer was very informative here.

“I think so. I think he loves mauling people. My guess is he probably wasn’t ready for the grind of the NFL. You’re putting in 10-hour days — it starts in April and it goes through January — that’s a long season. Rookie year you’re just trying to take it all in, so I think that probably hindered him a little bit but I think he does love football,” the center stated.

In terms of the other struggling 2020 draft pick, Denzel Mims, Mangold was a bit more critical. “If you don’t know the plays, you’re not going to play, that’s just how it is,” he noted, adding that he hopes the Baylor product can still turn things around.

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Optimistic Feeling

I’d be remiss not to mention the positives from this interview, so I’ll leave you with an optimistic quote from Mangold after Barber wondered how he feels about the team’s trajectory.

The Jets legend voiced: “I feel excited and encouraged… I believe that we had the most rookie starts in the NFL by — I think it was like 100 or something like that — so a very young team that I think needs to grow and that’s what they’re doing. So this offseason is going to be very important for them.”

Check out the full interview from Tiki & Tierney!


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