Will New York Jets rookie offensive tackle Mekhi Becton be able to make a positive impact in his debut season?
There is no denying Mekhi Becton‘s raw ability. The man moves in ways that a six-foot-seven, 364-pounder should not be able to. His potential is limitless.
The pressing question surrounding Becton in regards to the Jets’ 2020 season is this: What will he provide as a rookie?
Joe Douglas‘ Jets are in a pivotal position. They must give Sam Darnold the support system he needs in order to fulfill his potential, and are also running out of time to take advantage of the last two inexpensive years of Darnold’s inexpensive rookie contract.
More so than anything else, it is the offensive line’s performance that will dictate whether or not the Jets can accomplish those goals.
And, in 2020, Becton’s performance will be the most critical element in determining the offensive line’s overall output. Only one surefire immediate upgrade was added – center Connor McGovern – so if the 2020 Jets offensive line is going to improve upon its awfulness of a year ago, Becton has to be a driving force.
It is tough to picture a scenario in which the 2020 offensive line succeeds without Becton hitting the ground running. Even tougher is picturing a scenario in which the team as a whole succeeds without the offensive line playing well.
In short – Becton may be the single most important X-factor on the New York Jets in 2020.
No pressure, rookie.
Of course, none of this is to stay that Becton’s career hinges on 2020. The Jets will give him plenty of time to come into his own, and if it takes him a few years to become a decade-long star, that is perfectly fine. He is simply in the unique position of being one of the team’s major determinants from the very beginning.
What should we realistically expect from Becton this year? To answer that question, I looked back at the rookie-year performances of 24 offensive tackles (that got ample playing time) selected in the top-15 since 2006, which is the first season that offensive line statistics are available.
Let’s jump into it. Here is what recent history tells us to expect from Becton in 2020.
In the run game, I took a look at each player’s PFF run blocking grade and their percentile rank among tackles with 500+ snaps that season. If a player had fewer than 500 total snaps, his ranking is among all linemen who played at least the same number of snaps.
Of course, PFF grades are subjective, but at this point in history, we cannot do any better when it comes to individual offensive line statistics. It’s our best available tool for comparing linemen.
Here is how the rookies fared in the run game. The results paint a very interesting array of possibilities for Becton.