June 7, 2024   4 MIN READ

Big Plans

Mammoth Becton Optimistic About Move To Guard, Longevity With Birds


An excused absence for Landon Dickerson forced a major vacancy at left guard for the Eagles’ three-day mandatory minicamp.

Perhaps the most logical substitution plan would’ve been Matt Hennessy, a veteran free-agent signing with some experience at the position.

Maybe even Darian Kinnard, a 2022 fifth-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs, who exclusively functioned as the team’s second-team left guard during spring practices.

Instead, the Eagles opted for experimental upside, calling on Mekhi Becton, a 25-year-old career tackle with considerable pedigree.

Prior to signing with the Eagles, Becton, the No. 11 overall draft pick of the New York Jets in 2020, started 30 of 31 games at left tackle.

But for three days, the left side of the Eagles’ offensive line resembled a wall of mass, consisting of Jordan Mailata (6-8, 365) and Becton (6-7, 363).

The latter, who moonlighted as the first-team right tackle in Lane Johnson’s absence during OTAs, has showcased his swing tackle value. But it’s been Becton’s seemingly smooth transition inside that emerged as one of the more prominent storylines of spring practices.

“It’s been fun,” Becton said Thursday. “I mean, it’s great. It’s definitely a different adjustment to me, I’ve never played [guard] before. But it’s fun, the action is more right then and there than to tackle.

“Tackle, they get a chance to build their speed up and stuff like that. But guard, it’s all hand work, and you gotta be ready to fight right then and there.”

A highly intriguing reclamation project, Becton joins a formidable offensive line presided over by revered coach Jeff Stoutland, who’s tasked with restoring Becton to prominence.

For Becton, who said transitioning from left to right tackle to was far tougher than kicking inside from tackle, the move was a welcomed challenge.

“I’m always the type to be open to whatever,” Becton said. “And then, when you have a coach like Coach Stoutland, and the way he treats his players and the way he talks to them, you’re gonna do whatever for him.

“Once he came to me with the opportunity, I was open to it. I like to try new things, anyway.”

With Becton, who signed a one-year, prove-it deal with the Eagles on the heels of April’s NFL Draft, his athleticism and talent are irrefutable.

It’s been the sporadic availability due to injuries and physical inconsistencies that ultimately kept him on the outside looking in as the Jets moved forward with their roster.

Given the star-studded playmakers and preeminent supporting cast in Philadelphia, Becton hardly needed to be convinced to join.

“I’ve got Lane Johnson and Jordan Mailata in the same room,” he said. “So, those are two guys I look up to. They’re great players. I got coach Stout. Then we got a great team here with Jalen Hurts, Saquon [Barkley], A.J. [Brown].

“Just seeing all the firepower that we have on this team, it just made sense.”

MEkhi Becton

GETTY IMAGES: Mekhi Becton hopes to have staying power in Philly despite signing a 1-year deal and being auditioned at a new position.

Becton cited his ability to play in 16-of-17 games to be “uplifting,” adding how he persevered, fought and never gave up.

Staying healthy, along with approaching the assignment one day at a time, are his immediate goals in his latest chapter.

And while the skepticism surrounding a player of his considerable stature and build to translate inside on a long-term basis will be there, Becton views his frame as a luxury.

“D-tackles are used to shorter people with shorter arms,” he explained. “So, I feel like I’ve got an advantage in that standpoint with my arms and my arm length and being able to get on them quicker than they’re used to somebody getting on them.”

In Philadelphia, Becton will be afforded every opportunity to revitalize his career, perhaps even pushing second-year pro Tyler Steen, who currently has the inside track at right guard, for a starting spot.

The sample size is small and there’s still big decisions way ahead, but Becton has seen enough during his six weeks with the team to want to parlay his short stay into an extended one.

“I would love for it to be long-term,” he said. “I’m definitely looking forward to it. I want it to be long-term. I love the city of Philly. I love the people here, I love the fans. It’s great. I hope it’s long-term.”

– Andrew DiCecco (@AndrewDiCecco) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for InsideTheBirds.com.

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