INDIANAPOLIS — Sometimes, often, the NFL draft is a difficult grind through checks and balances, pros and cons, needs versus wants. Coming to a consensus on your top pick is as smooth and effortless as running through sand on the beach wearing ankle weights.
Sometimes, though, it can be easy.
For the Giants, the answer to the following question could bring clarity to their thinking as owners of the No. 4-overall selection in the draft: If you can be assured of getting a Tyron Smith to occupy left tackle for the next 10 years, do you forgo all other desires, make the pick and rest assured franchise quarterback Daniel Jones’ blindside is well-protected?
“I feel I’m the most dominant tackle in this draft,’’ Mekhi Becton said Wednesday, as the offensive linemen took center stage at the NFL Scouting Combine. “You wouldn’t go wrong picking me.’’
Intertwined with all the trade-down speculation is the basic melding of need and value when the Giants are on the clock. If the Giants view the massive Becton as the best of the bunch, they might as well not overthink this.
Becton, Tristan Wirfs of Iowa, Jedrick Wills of Alabama and Andrew Thomas of Georgia are all first-rounders, and the one characteristic everyone can agree stands above all else is size. Becton, a three-year starter at Louisville, arrived and measured 6-foot-7 ³/₈ and 364 pounds. He did not appear sloppy and looked far more massive than any of the other offensive line prospects — and not by a little bit.
“I love being the biggest offensive lineman,’’ Becton said. “I love intimidating guys.’’
NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah believes the Giants should sit tight and take Becton because, “I’m not in the business of trading off freaks at a need position.’’
A high school basketball star in Virginia, Becton is light on his feet. The big guys bench press on Thursday, and Friday they hit the field inside Lucas Oil Stadium, with Becton promising to put on a show.
“I feel I will shock a lot of people,’’ he said. “They don’t expect me to do the things I’m about to do.’’
Becton said teams meeting with him thus far all want to investigate his girth. He wants to get down to between 350 and 355 pounds, and there are concerns someone so young — he turns 21 just before the draft in late April — already needs to slim down. Becton’s mother, Semone, is a caterer who can cook everything and specializes in soul food.
“That’s why I’m so big,’’ he said.
Becton had more than 60 knockdown blocks at Louisville, but he said he realizes he needs to improve his footwork and hand placement. He played mostly on the left side and is not proud of the performance he put on tape during the 2018 season — before he truly got serious about playing in the NFL.
“I have to prove that I love to finish,’’ Becton said. “My 2018 film, it looked like I wasn’t passionate about football, so I have to explain it that I am passionate about football.’’
Becton said he looks up to Smith, a seven-time Pro Bowler for the Cowboys and the No. 9-overall pick in the 2011.
It will be difficult, if not impossible, for the Giants to part ways with incumbent starting left tackle Nate Solder, given that releasing him would provide just $6.5 million in additional salary-cap space and leave a dead cap hit of $13 million. Solder has said he would move to right tackle, if need be.
Becton said he wants to meet with the Giants and that he “just loves the New York griminess.’’ Asked to elaborate, he added, “New York is just like, tough. I love New York.’’
His advice to the NFL offense that brings him in is, “I can get you to score a touchdown pretty much, just run behind me.’’
The Giants five years ago were attracted to Ereck Flowers because of his bulk and size and took him with the No. 9 pick in the 2015 draft. That was a terrible choice, as it turned out, and prompted the overpaying of Solder in free agency.
Quick to smile, Becton as a freshman blocked for Lamar Jackson and soon enough might get to keep Jones upright and open holes for Saquon Barkley.
“It’s just fun seeing a man on the ground every play and going to jump on him,’’ Becton said. “That’s what I love about the game.’’