Mekhi Becton was drafted to be the star of the New York Jets’ offensive line. The Jets selected him 11th overall in 2020, which at face value is a reasonable decision. At the combine Becton measured 6-foot-7, weighed over 350 pounds, with a 7-foot wingspan, and massive hands.
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In early May the Jets declined to pick up the fifth-year on his rookie contract, making Becton a free agent following the upcoming season. The reason for the Jets’ lack of faith in him is injury. In three seasons, Becton has played in only 15 games.
Becton believes that his missing most of the last two seasons is not due to him being injury prone, and the Jets made a colossal mistake with him in 2022. After his 2021 knee injury, the Jets moved him to left tackle. Becton claims that playing on that side during training camp weakened his right knee. He would end up suffering an avulsion fracture.
“It made no sense to put me at left tackle,” Becton said to Newsday’s Bob Glauber. I hurt my right knee. That’s going to be the knee that I put the most pressure on [in pass protection.] I explained it [to the coaches], but no one cared.”
Becton also said that his knee was bothering him throughout training camp, and alleges that when he complained about it all he got from the Jets was the demand to tough it out. His 2022 season ended on Aug. 8 with the injury.
On his end, Becton is preparing for the season with the intensity of a player in his contract year. He has lost 40 pounds — Becton had gotten up to nearly 400 pounds — and has entered that contract-year zone of conditioning in which he is in the “best shape of his life.”
The only questionable position group on the Jets is their offensive line. If they had found a way to acquire Aaron Rodgers 10 years ago it would be a problem that could be worked around. Rodgers turns 40 years old in December. If the Jets want to get back to the Super Bowl for the first time since the team was in the AFL, Rodgers has to be able to stay in the pocket, and upright.
For them to be able to properly protect Rodgers, the Jets can’t have another season in which they have to go through multiple left tackles. Rodgers’ blind side needs to be covered, and the best person to do that would be Becton.
The slim 340-pound version that is desperate for a second NFL contract could be the x-factor for the Jets. Becton is truly an impressive physical specimen. It’s as if he was constructed in an assembly line, but someone made a mistake that ended up with him being better than all of the others.
He has to first get put back on the left side, and what is most important for him, and the Jets is for Becton to get through the 2023 season playing in the overwhelming majority of the Jets’ games. Health plus a deep playoff run should equal a hefty contract for the former 11th overall pick come next year.
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