Joe Douglas and the Jets found themselves on Temptation Island when pick No. 11 arrived in Thursday night’s 2020 NFL Draft.
The way the first 10 picks fell, the Jets and their first-time general manager were staring at as close to a perfect scenario as they could have hoped for: Only two of the top tackles had been selected and they had the pick of the litter among the receivers.
Douglas picking either a tackle or a receiver at No. 11 was going to follow the primary objective of this draft: Build around Sam Darnold and make the franchise quarterback better.
I’m not going to lie: While I know the Jets are in need of a tackle to protect Darnold, temptation would have led me directly to either CeeDee Lamb or Henry Ruggs III, two of the top receivers.
Because I want to see a liberated Darnold, in his second year in Adam Gase’s system, be able to throw the ball all over the yard, and you need a No. 1 receiver to be able to do that.
But in the end, Douglas, a high school and college offensive lineman, stayed true to his roots and picked Louisville tackle Mekhi Becton, a 6-foot-7, 363-pound mountain of a man who Douglas and Gase and Darnold and every living Jets fan hopes will become the next D’Brickashaw Ferguson.
What does that mean? It means Becton becomes a player who allows the Jets not to have to worry about the left tackle position for the next decade.
Ferguson, drafted by the Jets in the first round out of Virginia in 2006, played 10 seasons with them and started 160 games. That’s 16 games per season, which means he never missed a start in his career.
How good and dependable was Ferguson? Jets owner Woody Johnson named his son “Brick’’ after him.
The left tackle position since Ferguson retired has been a turnstile for the Jets.
So, even though I wanted to give in to temptation and take the top receiver in a draft that’s been hailed as one of the best receiver drafts in generations, I’m OK with the Becton pick.
On one condition.
That Douglas finds the best receiver available in Friday night’s second round, with the 48th overall pick.
• Jets’ NFL Draft tracker: Live round-by-round picks and analysis
When The Post spoke to Greg McElroy, the former Jets backup quarterback and current ESPN college football analyst before the draft, he said he’d be fine with the Jets taking a tackle in the first round, but added, “Knowing that their weapons are so problematic, I would need some assurances that they’ll eventually address wide receiver at some point in the draft sooner than later.’’
Sooner needs to be Friday in the second round.
“It’s probably as deep a draft at wide receiver I’ve ever covered in my seven years in the industry,’’ McElroy said. “You can get great value at receiver on Day 3 easily.’’
One educated observer — former Giants quarterback and current NFL analyst for CBS Phil Simms — vehemently disagreed with McElroy’s take.
“All that talk is for people who are not running teams,’’ Simms told The Post. “If you wait until the second round to take a receiver, you’re not going to get a guy as good as CeeDee Lamb. You can always help out a tackle.’’
Hopefully, Becton, who started 21 games at left tackle and 12 at right tackle in college, won’t need any help.
Becton’s dexterity and movement for his size — he ran a 5.1 in the 40 at the combine — has blown scouts away.
“A man that size isn’t supposed to be as nimble as he is,’’ Douglas said.
“The guy moves people like furniture,’’ Rex Hogan, the Jets’ assistant general manager, said.
Gase called Becton “a big man that can move people off the ball in the run game and he’s a tough man to get around in the passing game,’’ and added, “He brings us some edge and some nasty, and any time you can add a player like that you’re fired up as a coaching staff.’’
When Gase’s comments were relayed to Becton, he smiled and quickly concurred.
“I think my demeanor is real nasty,’’ he said on a Zoom call with the media. “I like to see the man in front of me on the ground with me on top of him. [I’m] a dominant, physical offensive lineman that likes to finish the guy in front of him every play.’’
Based on Douglas’ reaction after the Becton pick that was caught on TV, him hugging and celebrating with his family, he feels good about getting it right at No. 11.
Now go find that No. 1 receiver Darnold desperately needs.
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