NFL Draft 2020 profile: Louisville's Mekhi Becton is perfect 49ers fit

NFL Draft 2020 profile: Louisville's Mekhi Becton is perfect 49ers fit

Editor's note: NBC Sports Bay Area will preview the NFL Draft with a look at the 49ers’ top needs, profiles of prospects that might fit their needs, along with some hidden gems. In this installment, we profile Louisville offensive lineman Mekhi Becton.

When 49ers general manager John Lynch posted a video from his home office to give fans a glimpse of how the team is preparing for the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft, his television screen was paused on a clip of college game film. 

A little detective work revealed that Lynch likely scouting Louisville offensive tackle Mekhi Becton (pronounced Ma-kai BECK-tin). 

Several scouts and draft pundits believe the 2020 NFL Draft will have the best class of offensive tackles in several years and Becton is one of the reasons why. At only 20 years old, he is a mountain of a man standing 6-foot-7, weighing 364 pounds with only 17 percent body fat. 

For his size, Becton is very athletic, known for his explosiveness and speed. The 49ers have expressed confidence that veteran Pro Bowl tackle Joe Staley will return for the 2020 season. Even if Staley does return, the 49ers need to plan for the future and look for his replacement in the draft. Becton would be a perfect fit. 

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Private offensive line evaluator and coach Duke Manyweather worked with the Louisville product prior to the NFL Scouting Combine and has been very impressed with what he has seen from Becton. 

“Becton is just something special and something out of this world,” Manyweather told NBC Sports Bay Area. “With being just under 6’8 and 360 with his mobility, explosiveness and strength, power, ability to change directions. And then on top of that he’s nasty. He’s physical, he works hard, he’s strong.

“You can’t really put him in a box because we’ve seen nothing like him. He has that old school size of like Jonathan Ogden and Orlando Pace, with this new school athleticism of these freak athletes. If he stays healthy, we are talking about a guy that could potentially be a generational type of Hall of Fame guy.” 

Not only is Becton’s size and athleticism a huge advantage, but his knowledge of outside zone schemes makes him even more attractive for the 49ers. He could seamlessly slide in and quickly solidify the left side of the offensive line for the foreseeable future.

“One of the guys that has the best tape in outside zone is Becton,” Manyweather said. “Louisville ran a ton of outside zone and play-action with a lot of the things that Shanahan does. 

“They ran an offense very similar to what the 49ers run. If you look at his tape, you will see almost everything that the 49ers would want a tackle to do. He was also left on an island a lot to pass protect.” 

Becton will likely be selected before the 49ers' No. 13 overall selection in the draft. But if he's available, drafting Becton would be a smart move for the 49ers.

[RELATED: Wirfs could set 49ers up long haul]

NFL draft profile: Mekhi Becton

Height: 6-foot-7
Weight: 364 pounds
College: Louisville
Career stats: Played in 23 games in two seasons at Louisville, received Jacobs Blocking award, named First-Team All ACC

Combine measurables
40-yard dash: 5.1 seconds
Bench press: 23 reps

What experts are saying
Todd McShay, ESPN: "Linemen weighing in at 364 pounds aren’t supposed to run 5.10-second 40 times. Becton has versatility and power, and he obviously moves extremely well for his massive 6-7 frame." 
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Media: "To me, Mekhi Becton is a freak, from Louisville, an absolute freak. I'm not in the business of trading off freaks at a need position. He's going to be that guy for the next 10 to 12 years to protect your franchise quarterback. He's so big, so long, so athletic, even when he is not perfect, it doesn't matter because nobody can get through him. He's 6'7", 370 pounds. You just don't see guys like that come around very often."
Lance Zierlein, NFL Media: "Enormous frame complemented by surprisingly nimble feet and functional athleticism to handle either tackle spot. Becton's combination of movement and force should allow him to fit easily into all running schemes, but he needs to play with better patience in order to control and redirect all that mass into centered blocks in both run and pass. His technique and set-up are better than expected in pass pro, while his size and length allow him to recover and redirect both inside and outside rushes."

Draft projection: First round (top 15)

49ers' Raheem Mostert sets goal to prove he's 'a bad mo-fo' this season

49ers' Raheem Mostert sets goal to prove he's 'a bad mo-fo' this season

Raheem Mostert, a player who has zero starts in his 50-game NFL career, has no problem referring to himself as a starting running back.

Actually, he proved to be more of a finisher last season.

Mostert finished the regular season as the 49ers' leading rusher. And as he enters his third training camp with the 49ers, he said he has one simple goal.

“When I step onto that field,” Mostert said, “I want everybody to say, ‘That’s a bad mo-fo.’”

Everybody was saying that in January, when Mostert produced the mother of all games in the NFC Championship Game. He had the biggest day from a running back in franchise history when he gained 220 yards with four touchdowns in the 49ers’ victory over the Green Bay Packers to send the 49ers to the Super Bowl.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Mostert saw NFL regular-season action with four different teams before finishing the 2016 season with the 49ers. In his first three years, he had a total of eight rushing attempts. He finally earned a chance in 2018 and gained 261 yards on 34 attempts.

Last season, he broke out from being considered solely a special-teams ace. Mostert gained a team-leading 772 yards and eight touchdowns on 137 attempts.

In the offseason, he worked on getting his body prepared for the rigors of an increased workload by improving his strength and body mass. Mostert figures to be the headliner of a group of running backs that includes Tevin Coleman, Jerick McKinnon and Jeff Wilson.

“I've got to prepare myself because I am the starting running back,” said Mostert, who agreed to a reworked contract that added incentives to his deal to pay him accordingly if he again leads the team in rushing.

Mostert later clarified that he projects himself as a starter just as 49ers running backs coach Bobby Turner believes the team’s depth chart at running back is full of starting-caliber players.

[RELATED49ers' Raheem Mostert explains tough decision to play 2020 NFL season]

But, actually, Mostert’s next starting assignment will be his first. He said he is not too concerned whether he is on the field for the first snap of the game.

“Truthfully, it doesn’t make any difference,” Mostert said. “I got to have that mindset that I am the starter, but when it comes down to it, we have five, six different starters in our room.

“I do feel I’m the starter. (That’s) no dig to anyone in the room. We’re all brothers and that’s our approach.”

Seahawks claim D.J. Reed day after 49ers waived injured defensive back

Seahawks claim D.J. Reed day after 49ers waived injured defensive back

The 49ers took a gamble Tuesday when the club placed defensive back D.J. Reed on waivers.

One day later, the Seattle Seahawks pounced.

The Seahawks claimed Reed off waivers. He goes on the active/non-football injury list due to a torn pectoral sustained during an offseason workout.

General manager John Lynch said this week the decision was made to effectively end Reed’s season with the 49ers because the club anticipated his return no earlier than November. Lynch said the team did not want to devote a roster spot to a player who might not be available to play until December.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

While Reed currently counts against the Seahawks’ roster, he will open the season on reserve/non-football injury. He will be ineligible for the first six weeks of the season, but could return to contribute later in the season.

Reed, a Bakersfield native who attended college at Kansas, was a fifth-round draft pick of the 49ers in 2018.

He appeared in 31 regular-season games and all three postseason games during his time with the club. He started two games as a rookie and is capable of playing cornerback, nickel back and safety.

[RELATEDMostert explains tough decision to play 2020 NFL season]

After registering 41 tackles and a sack as a rookie, Reed saw limited action last season with 13 tackles. He was one of the team's core special-teams players. Reed scored a touchdown on a 5-yard fumble return on kickoff coverage after a botched lateral on the final play of the 49ers’ 36-26 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Nov. 17.

Reed becomes the fourth former 49ers player on the Seahawks, joining running back Carlos Hyde, guard Mike Iupati and fullback Nick Bellore.