Chiefs Called Top ‘Fit’ for Buy Low First-Round Talent at Left Tackle

Jets' Mekhi Becton called free agent fit for Chiefs in NFL free agency.

Getty New York Jets free agent OT Mekhi Becton could be an option for the Kansas City Chiefs in NFL free agency.

For the third time in four years, the Kansas City Chiefs most likely need to sign a new left tackle for Patrick Mahomes II.

Of course, they could look to reunite with veteran Donovan Smith in free agency — or hand the job to 2023 draft pick Wanya Morris — but neither put together a particularly strong campaign for KC last year despite the title run. Instead, Last Word On Sports editor David Latham suggested a potential alternative.

New York Jets 2020 first-round offensive tackle Mekhi Becton is expected to hit the open market in March, and while he’s struggled with injuries and inconsistent play throughout his four-year tenure in the league, you can’t teach 6-foot-7 size and strength. Latham explained why he believes the Chiefs are a top free agency “fit” for Becton on March 1.

“The Kansas City Chiefs have the best interior offensive line in football, but their tackle situation needs some work,” he stated. “Jawaan Taylor isn’t going anywhere thanks to his massive contract, but Donovan Smith probably won’t be coming back. With most of their financial resources tied up in Chris Jones, L’Jarius Sneed and a new wide receiver, the Chiefs might need to go bargain shopping for someone like Mekhi Becton in free agency.”

Mekhi Becton Described as One of ‘Biggest High-Risk, High-Reward’ Free Agents

Let’s say the Chiefs decide to bring in affordable competition for Morris, Becton might actually make some sense as a flyer that could pan out long-term.

“Becton is one of the biggest high-risk, high-reward players entering free agency,” Latham outlined in his article. “Originally selected with the 11th-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Louisville product looked like he had the making of a franchise tackle as a rookie. During his first season, Becton started 13 games and finished with a 74.4 PFF grade, the 31st-best mark out of 79 eligible players.”

“Unfortunately, a series of injuries limited him to just one game over the next two seasons,” the analyst went on. “Mekhi Becton returned to the field for the final season of his rookie contract, but he didn’t play too well heading into free agency. According to Pro Football Focus, Becton’s 53.2 grade was the 66th-best out of 81 tackles.”

Becton has really excelled as a run blocker when on the field throughout his career, earning marks above 73.0 in two out of his three healthy seasons in that regard. His pass protection could use some work, however, as Becton was charged with 50 QB pressures and 18 penalty flags in 2023.

To be fair, the blindside blocker’s pass-blocking efficiency hovered above 96.0 his first two healthy seasons before dropping to 94.9 last year on PFF.

Why Is Mekhi Becton Worth a Reclamation Attempt?

General manager Brett Veach and head coach Andy Reid love their reclamation projects — often betting on sheer talent and potential rather than prior NFL production. That’d be the general theory behind targeting Becton.

“The Jets desperately need tackles, and the fact that they’re letting Mekhi Becton go into free agency is a bit of a red flag,” Latham admitted to readers. “However, despite this, there is still reason to believe he can turn things around.”

Continuing: “Becton was a top-15 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and his strong rookie season shows that his abilities can translate to the highest level. After essentially missing two straight years of football, Becton could have been rusty during his final season. Seeing as he’s entering his age-25 season, it stands to reason that the tackle could improve with more reps.”

Chiefs offensive line coach Andy Heck has had a lot of experience developing blockers for Kansas City over his 11-year tenure — although his coaching has translated more with guards and centers than tackles in recent drafts.

Still, there’s plenty of evidence that Heck can get the best out of his players. See Creed Humphrey, Trey Smith, Nick Allegretti and Mike Caliendo on the current roster alone, as well as recent breakthroughs with backups-turned-contributors  Andrew Wylie and Prince Tega Wanogho on the outside.

Read More