WONDER: DRAFT LT BECTON at 1.04

UltimateNYG’s draft analyst Wonder is about halfway through the Combine tape. So while his Draft Board is a work in progress, he already has evaluated many players. And there is one guy (beyond Chase Young) who stands out in the 2020 Draft:

Left Tackle MEKHI BECTON

“This draft is loaded with Offensive Tackles,” says Wonder. “Contrast that with last year, when it was not top heavy at all. This year it is a great draft for Tackle. Also WR. I have not looked at Defensive Line or Defensive Backs yet, so everything is incomplete, but it is a great moment for the Giants to take Tackle.”

Right now, here is how Wonder ranks the Top 3 prospects at OL:
1) T Tristan Wirfs
1A) T Mekhi Becton
3) T Andrew Thomas

So why not Wirfs? Wonder: “An extra 40 lbs of power. Wirfs is more of a zone blocking scheme fit. Becton is better for a power running game. I would love Becton for the Giants.”

What does Becton offer? Our draft analyst elaborates. “He is a beast. 6’7” Carries 350-360 lbs easily (weighs 364 lbs). MAULER! Powerful hands. Agile. Moves quickly. Mauls defenders like insects. He is athletic. If Becton is coached right and he has the proper work ethic, there is unlimited upside. As a prospect, Becton offers the most potential we have seen in many years.

“This guy will protect Daniel Jones for 10 years. You can’t put a price tag on that. He’ll help turn Barkley loose in the running game. He will change the whole Offensive Line by himself. If you draft him, move Solder’s awful contract to RT. I am not in love with this, but you can even possibly move him to Guard.” Considering how poor the Giants OL has been … for nearly a decade …. doesn’t that mean everything??!! Becton is going to have 80 lbs on the DEs in the run game. Think about that kind of dominance. The game is won and lost at the line of scrimmage. Doesn’t that explain why this position makes so much sense?!

The safe pick is Wirfs, who Wonder projects to be an All-Pro. But if you want to hit a homerun, you take Becton, because if he is healthy and reaches his potential, he could be a perennial All-Pro. Taking Wirfs at 1.04 is not horrible because it will work.

Wonder compares Becton to LT Jonathan Ogden. “Becton is built like Ogden. His upside is Ogden or Pace. I actually played basketball versus Jonathan Ogden in a pickup game. He had tree trunks for legs. So I know what Jonathan Ogden is. By the way, Ogden is a super nice guy, he went easy on us. Mountain of a man.”

Any other comparison? “He can be a much better version of Trent Brown, the Raiders Pro Bowl Tackle (who was coached up by Scarnecchia in New England before hitting paydirt in Free Agency). A much better bigger version than HOFer Art Shell. A bigger better version of DAL T/G HOFer Larry Allen.”

Maybe Judge just pays his old colleague Scarnecchia to coach this kid up in training camp. Everything Scarnecchia touches turns to gold. Just get Becton some decent coaching and it is over.

Let’s talk intangibles. Here is a piece from before his senior year in college. He says all the right things and walks the walk. No red flags here. I like this kid, he seems like he wants to put his head down and get to work, which is precisely the culture of a 10 year lineman.

The last time the Giants took a Tackle really high, they got burned with Ereck Flowers. And once burned twice shy, so you might be afraid to go there again. “Flowers was never projected to be a mauler. He was projected to be a solid LT that could protect Eli. My eval was wrong because even though I specifically said that he needed a year of coaching before establishing himself, he never learned the proper technique to get to the next level. He did a lot better with Callahan in Washington because he had better coaching and better technique. They also moved his feet inside to Guard. Becton, on the other hand, is massive, has much better athleticism than Flowers, and frankly should not be compared to him. He has a much higher ceiling, it is not even close.”

Wonder continues. “The thing which is most intriguing about taking Becton is that other teams will have to gameplan to address what he does in the run game. And once you have a player of that caliber who does that to the opposition, you’ve already won.”  Think about how every week, opposing teams needed to gameplan Lawrence Taylor. Well, right now they don’t need to gameplan Barkley as much because the OL s**ks at run blocking. Becton will change that.

We have been begging for Offensive Line 8-10 years ago, and re-upped the need 2 drafts ago from the moment they selected Saquon Barkley. Frankly, I wasn’t kidding when I said in 2018 that it would be fine if they took OL the rest of the Draft. How about this draft? Wouldn’t you take 2 offensive tackles in this draft? “Not a bad idea. Yes,” said Wonder.

Wonder imagines life on the Giants Offense with Becton. “You get a good solid blocking TE to pair up with him on the left side and oh my God it is a feast of riches. I run 12 package play action out of a set with Shepard, Tate and Engram wide and it cannot be  defended. If you run the ball you’ll get 5 yards every time, so the LBers will be drawn up to stop the run. On play action, Tate, Shepard or Engram can get 10-15 yards easily.”

ODDS and ENDS: This is a thin draft for Tight End. Washington QB Jacob Eason is value. If he can be taught properly, he has an arm. Round 2 coach him up. Another value guy in Round 2 or Round 3 is WR Chase Claypool. More Draft coming while we are all in lockdown.

December Rollerball is the New Regular Season

The new 2020 CBA for the NFL was approved by the Players Union. The players get more money. The owners get more money. The fans get to pay more money.

I can’t be any more blunt about this CBA. It is the dilution we have warned about numerous times in the past. NFL ownership, in their never-ending quest to “grow” the game, had their stump man Roger Goodell argue fruitlessly in campaign after campaign for an 18 game season. But that strategy paid dividends, as the persistent anchoring of requests for 18 games made a 17 game CBA begrudgingly tolerable. Owners wore down the players (here is an old post from 2009) and got the extra game.

That is not all that the owners got. They also got a 14 team playoff structure. Adding an extra 2 teams to the playoffs may not seem like a big deal, but it is. Starkly, the best way to see this with the ratio of the playoff qualifiers to those knocked out of the postseason. This ratio changes from 12:20 to 14:18. That is an old ratio of 60% to the new ratio of 78%.

“When everyone’s super… no one will be.”

Dilution. Death by a thousand cuts. Longer season. More playoff qualifiers. Memo to NY Giants blog readers and all NFL fans- THE REGULAR SEASON WAS JUST WATERED DOWN.

You don’t need to have taken calculus to know that as a limit, more regular season games and more teams in the playoffs cheapens every single regular season game. The greatness of the NFL is the regular season. It matters. These gladiators bust their butts, play hurt, wage war, all on our behalf to win every precious regular season game. Each win is precious. Each loss is potentially crippling. Well, you add an extra game and 2 extra playoff qualifiers and the result… of that valuable game… is just not as valuable. More supers.

If you want more proof of the dilution, the NFL owners made concessions to the players to get this deal through. Not only is there more money for them, but they also drop the number of padded practices in training camp from 28 to 16. Bwaaahhaaahaa. Why don’t we just set up mani pedis next to the blocking sleds?!

The dilution continues with 3 more players dressed for games, 2 more players on the active roster, and 2-4 more practice squad players.  The last I checked, the NFL still only has 22 players for each snap, so that means you’ll be seeing more journeymen and more turnstile players than ever before. Yet instead of being cut before the season, they’ll be playing football, because the season will wear on longer and they’ll go through more bodies. Player safety? You’re joking, right?

You can bet your bottom dollar (which the NFL is reaching for right now) that the TV networks will weave their public relations masterpieces on that “new” fringe player who “got his chance” and made it to stardom. What would we ever do without the new CBA?!! Do not believe it. That fringe player already has his shot numerous times in training camps, practice squads and other teams’ roster cuts.

The rank & file players who got this agreement passed will get a 20% raise for playing one extra game. I have nothing against more fringe players making a (fabulous) salary by getting a professional contract. But make no mistake, that is how the owners got the votes. The Richard Shermans and JJ Watts were against this deal because they did not want to play extra games and extra playoff games in order to win a title. They have the money. They want the money and their bodies. Rank & file members who are getting that 20% bump are out of football in 1-2-3 years. The owners got their vote and a new CBA. Fans will get less stars and more rank & file.

Steve Young was the first to coin the phrase: “September is the new preseason.” It was a dig at the 2011 CBA agreement, which watered down practices and put out a garbage product to start the regular season. The new 2020 CBA means that with weaker training camp, weaker play, weaker players, longer seasons, and more playoff teams, that December rollerball is the new regular season.