USA TODAY Sports
It's not often you see projections of a prospect go from 3rd round to possibly undrafted, but Nick Becton is a classic case of draft potential.
It seems like in every draft we see a huge number of Offensive Linemen that get drafted in the middle-to-late rounds (we've looked at a couple already), and most of them have a one or two round range of where they'll most likely fall. Virginia Tech's Nick Becton, however, I've seen someone say third round, and someone say 7th to Free Agent. That's a huge range, so let's find out why.
Becton only started one year for the Hokies, which was last season, but did move around the Offensive Line, playing on both sides and at both Guard and Tackle. He suffered a Turf Toe injury that cost him his 2010 season, and played behind some veteran depth in 2011, playing in every game, just rotating at Tackle with Andrew Lanier, the starter from the previous year. Without having seen him play, I wonder if he dedicated himself in the offseason between his junior and senior seasons to being able to play multiple positions, so he could be on the field all the time. Shows some good initiative if that is the case.
He would be considered an athletic tackle, meaning he can get to the next level well, and pull from one side to the other if he were to kick inside. From reading some scouting reports on him he could use some strength work (19 bench press reps at Combine), but more workout time in the NFL can cure that quickly. This is why some see him as a Day 2 pick, as it's easier to fix strength problems if the work ethic is there, as well as the athleticism. My guess is that spread Offense teams will see him as more valuable.
The Colts could certainly use the position flexibility Becton brings, as would most NFL teams. My guess is the Colts wouldn't have him higher than a 6th rounder, however, as their new offensive style is probably not a match for Becton's strengths. It's really tough to tell with a guy who has only played one full season as a starter, so some team may see a bunch of potential there and take him a few rounds earlier. You see raw prospects get drafted a little higher than they're skill level is on draft day, and I think Becton will be one of those guys. I'm just thinking it won't be with the Colts.
Athletic left tackle prospect with the necessary height and length for the position. Possesses good lateral movement, can deliver a good punch while keeping his feet alive. Stays balanced to cut off the inside lane. Widens his base and anchors quickly against bull rushes. Good mobility to reach the second-level and get out in front of outside runs and quick screens.
Not a dominating lineman in terms of pure strength, though he doesn’t have the attitude of a finesse blocker. Sometimes relies on his punch to knock defenders off their route, leaning or stopping his feet in the process. Other times, can he slow to get his hands up, allowing ends and second-level targets to get into his chest.
STRENGTHS: Ideal long-armed frame for the position. Looks quick off the line when asked to release into the flat and set up the screen. Absorbs pass-rush impact with consistent knee bend. Maintains flat back on contact in pass protection. Keeps consistent base width in his kick-slide. Doesn't get overextended off the line, displaying good patience to sit back and punch.
WEAKNESSES: Could get better arm extension as a run blocker on contact, and approaches his target too high at times. Doesn't break down and redirect in space very well, and fails to square up at the second level, often bending at the waist and losing his balance in reaching for his opponent.
COMPARES TO: Frank Omiyale, OL, Seattle Seahawks - Like Omiyale, Becton offers a team versatility to play either tackle or guard. He's technically sound as a pass protector on the outside, but possesses the power to move inside, although he'll need to become more consistent as a run-blocker to start there at the next level. Guys who can consistently protect the edges are extremely valuable in the NFL, which is why I see Becton as a prospect who could be off the board before the fourth round.
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