Ian Rapoport learned Friday night that Mekhi Becton had failed his drug test at the NFL Draft. History shows us that this could be a huge break for the Chiefs.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Friday evening that a projected top 10 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Louisville offensive tackle Mekhi Becton, had a flagged drug test at the NFL Combine.
In the past, we’ve seen what a positive drug test at the combine can do to a player’s overall draft status. Many times, NFL teams will see it as an indicator of a player’s lack of responsibility or trustworthiness. To a degree, this makes a great deal of sense, since these prospects know well in advance that they’ll be tested and agents should teach them these elements early. They know that getting flagged could cost them millions of dollars, yet they cannot help but toke up.
Some notable examples of players who’ve fallen as a result of failed combine tests include Kansas City Chiefs third round pick from the 2011 draft in Justin Houston. Obviously that addition worked out pretty well for the Chiefs. Houston, too, ended up earning north of $100 million in his NFL career (and is still playing), but did miss out on a first round contract as a result.
In 2015, the Dallas Cowboys had the opposite kind of luck when Randy Gregory fell to them at the end of the second round as a result of positive testing. Dallas took a gamble on the star pass rusher, and it failed to pay off for them. He played in only 28 games for the team due to seven failed drug tests.
Laremy Tunsil, too dropped to No. 13 overall after a flagged test. He was projected to a be a top five draft pick before the test result. All he has done is become a Pro Bowler and net Miami a first round pick in trade from the Houston Texans, en route to earning a massive extension.
And there are other examples: quarterback Dan Marino was rumored to have failed a drug test and dropped to the bottom of the first round, cornerback Janoris Jenkins dropped to the second round, and Warren Sapp was a surefire top five pick who dropped to 12th overall as a result of multiple failed tests.
The Chiefs could be benefactors of such a drop for Becton. Kansas City will soon have to consider life at tackle after both Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz. Fisher is 29-years-old while Schwartz is 30. Both are among the most expensive players on the roster, and Fisher missed half of last season due to a core muscle surgery. With that in mind, Kansas City could certainly begin to start grooming a replacement for either in the 2020 NFL Draft.
In a draft that is top heavy with offensive tackle prospects, with as many as six or more projected to go in the first round, a red flag like the failed drug test could certainly move Becton down draft boards. While the NFL has relaxed its rules some on positive drug tests, concerns will linger for some teams about character concerns when it comes to Becton.
Becton is one of the largest offensive tackle prospects in recent memory, standing 6-feet-7-inches and weighing in at 364 pounds at the combine. What separates him from other massive prospects is that his athleticism is reflective of a much smaller human being. Case in point, he ran the 40-yard dash in 5.1 seconds. That time ranked him in the top five of all offensive lineman at the NFL Combine this year.
Becton is an incredibly talented run blocker, and with NFL level offensive line coaching, should be able to use his quick and nimble feet to get up to speed in the passing game. He’s big and fast and athletic, and he’s going to be a starting tackle in the NFL for a very long time.
If Becton falls to Kansas City, general manager Brett Veach should draft him in a heartbeat. The team has a future need to fill, and Becton would be a steal at pick 32. Owner Clark Hunt has shown a willingness to give players a second chance, drafting Houston and taking a chance on wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Veach should take advantage of that willingness—if the situation presents itself.