There was plenty to love about Mekhi Becton‘s first appearance in a New York Jets uniform.
In his professional debut, the man known as “The Big Ticket” was more than worth the price of admission (well, metaphorically speaking, considering the only fan in attendance was a buffalo).
Pro Football Focus scored Becton with an overall grade of 77.2 (fitting for #77) in his NFL debut, which ranked 11th-best among all tackles and eighth-best among left tackles in Week 1. It was the best grade posted among the four tackles taken in the top-15 of this year’s draft (Jedrick Wills 45th, Tristan Wirfs 50th, Andrew Thomas 51st).
While no conclusions can be drawn after one game, be the performance good or bad, Becton looked remarkably pro-ready, flashing the wherewithal, technical proficiency, and fundamentals that he will need for his obvious physical gifts to shine.
Let’s take a look at some of what Becton showed on Sunday.
On his first run play as a Jet, Becton hits the second level and throws top-notch safety Jordan Poyer out of the screen. Quick burst off the ball and accurate targeting on the inside shoulder of Poyer. Becton makes sure to finish his prey, not quitting after the initial push and making sure his target hits the turf.
You can see a bit of an intimidation factor as Poyer hesitates to engage. Defensive backs are not exactly going to be itching to battle with this man at the second level.
At Louisville, Becton was an absolute bulldozer as a down blocker on zone plays. We are already seeing flashes of that same dominance in the NFL. Watch Becton fire off the ball, get his hands on the 4i-tech, and plow him from one hash to the other, opening up a huge amount of space on the playside.
If Breshad Perriman got a better block on Poyer, Frank Gore would have had a huge gain (skill position blocking matters!).
Here’s another destructive block along the line of scrimmage from Becton. The 2i-technique hops over to the C-gap, straight into the waiting arms of Becton, who gives him a ride to Niagara Falls.
Nice staredown at the end to top it off. Intimidating, but not instigative. The kid knows how to impose his will.
On run plays, a go-to move of Becton’s at Louisville was to take an aggressive set and quickly give a forceful, upfield-directed shot to the inside shoulder of the edge defender. Becton had such a massive size and strength advantage that if he could land his punch accurately, he could send the defender out of the play in an instant. This is something that seemed questionable to translate to the NFL, but Becton flashes it here. He fires directly into the 5-technique off the snap and powerfully torques him outside, completely negating his chances of impacting the play.
That’s a risky play that smart edge defenders will anticipate and dodge to immediately get involved in the play, but if he can pick the right spots to pull it out and consistently land it with accuracy, Becton can make it a deadly weapon. Even in the NFL, his physical gifts appear to be superior enough to pull off things like that.
Becton held up well in protection against speed/outside moves. He flashed the ability to maximize his length with good technique. Against Jerry Hughes here, Becton drops into his set with quick and even steps, maintaining good balance and remaining square to his target. He catches the long-arm move from Hughes, grasps his inside shoulder, and carries him up the arc to provide a clean pocket for Sam Darnold. This is the all-too-valuable lengthy protection that Darnold did not get on the blindside edge from Kelvin Beachum.
Really encouraging. Hoping he can at least do a solid admirable job against bosa this week. Hey Nania, were you able to clock much of Fant’s play week 1? How’d he do?
Was impressed with Fant, he was tremendous against outside/speed stuff but showed some cracks against inside/power stuff. To be exact, I had him winning 14/15 reps against outside or speed moves and 5/10 against power/inside. Looked solid in the run game, good athleticism. Nice start, has to hold off those inside moves better but he looks like he can really send the athletic guys up the field. Which is great for this week, since his matchup will be Dee Ford (if he plays, he missed practices), whose game is built around speed
Excellent! Thats a relief. Now if van roten can step it up a bit, theyll be in decent shape. I mean we werent expecting much from alex lewis anyway, maybe he’s a rah rah leader type where his presence helps the cohesion or something like that. Hopefully clark develops for next year or we take a guard a little high in the draft, if the value is there, and kick this OL rebuild up a notch.
Yeah Lewis certainly has the unit’s lowest ceiling, it’s pretty established that he can’t be much better than average, but as you said I think he brings something in terms of vocal leadership.
But if Clark can prove worthy of being the long-term piece at that LG spot (or RG, but I’d guess he goes left), then you’re really cooking. Would be tremendously promising to see him get in there this season and play well, but it will probably not be until next year he gets a chance to hit his stride. He definitely might play this year if the Jets go down 2 guards, but wouldn’t expect much from him and he would definitely deserve a lot of slack.
Van Roten is key for this year, obviously not expecting him to be a long-term piece (making an investment at G will likely be a priority, maybe high in the draft as you said) but for now, if he can as solid in pass pro as he was for Carolina last year, it really raises the 2020 unit’s floor. Shaky start but there were definitely some signs of what he is capable of.
Maybe once Sam realises he has decent protection around him he can actually settle down in the pocket more, fingers crossed.
I think he may still be recovering from habits developed behind bad OL play, if this line is able to consistently play well, he should have a chance to adapt and get to the point where he can establish some consistency
Very encouraged. Crazy how I saw a lot of bad execution in this game, does this mean that the Jets performance was partly because of the weird offseason?
That could definitely a part of it, especially tough for a team like the Jets that went out there with an offense that had only 2 of its 11 starters that were on the team in Week 1 of last year (Darnold, Bell)