Welcome to the Mekhi Becton fan club, Frank Gore. It’s getting crowded.
The venerable Jets running back threw praise at the rookie offensive tackle Friday, describing him as a “beast,” joining a chorus of analysts, coaches and teammates who have raved about the monstrous 6-foot-7, 363-pound lineman.
One play in particular has stood out to the 37-year-old Gore. After pancaking 49ers defensive end Kerry Hyder Jr. on Sunday, Becton demanded the Jets run behind him again.
“[He’s] a Larry Allen type guy,” Gore said, referring to the Hall of Fame left tackle he played with early in his career with the 49ers. “We ran one play and he told me, ‘Come back again.’ I remember when I played with Larry Allen he used to look to the sidelines and tell me, ‘Bring that play back over here again.’
“[On a reverse play, Becton] dumped a dude, and then he went at him again. That’s old-school football, man. He doesn’t care who you [are]. He’s going to try and finish you.”
Pro Football Focus has rated Becton, the first-round pick (11th overall) out of Louisville, as the No. 1 offensive rookie so far, grading him out at 79.7. Becton, known as “Big Ticket,” has more than held his own against the Bills’ Jerry Hughes and 49ers’ Nick Bosa, before the San Francisco standout got hurt last Sunday on the Jets’ second offensive drive of the game.
Former Jets and Patriots offensive lineman Damien Woody, who now works as an ESPN analyst, said Becton is one of the best offensive tackles in the game already. Brian Baldinger of the NFL Network has given him the nickname “Highway 77” and called him the best rookie in the league so far, saying the Jets should run behind him all the time.
“He’s a beast, man,” Gore said. “When I first saw him out here at training camp, I knew he was different. It’s like it didn’t phase him.
“When I saw him at camp, right away I knew this kid could be special, as long as he just keeps working.”
He has only progressed from training camp. Even Gore admitted he might be getting carried away in his praise of Becton, though he had trouble stopping himself.
“I don’t want to speak so fast, because he’s a young player,” Gore said, “but me seeing him from Day 1 in pads to the first two games, he’s got the potential to do some special things.”
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