Mekhi Becton, Injury, Surgery, Return, Date, NY Jets, PFF
Mekhi Becton, NY Jets, Getty Images

Mekhi Becton can’t wait to rejoin the New York Jets offensive line

New York Jets left tackle Mekhi Becton may be on the sidelines as he recovers from surgery for an MCL sprain, but thanks to his consistent presence on Twitter, Jets fans always have a good idea of how the uniquely talented 22-year-old lineman is feeling.

On Saturday afternoon, Becton shared his eagerness to rejoin his teammates on the football field.

Becton has been actively showing admiration for his teammates. He shared his support for defensive end John Franklin-Myers‘ contract extension and quarterback Zach Wilson‘s NFL Rookie of the Week honors.

George Fant has been starting at left tackle in Becton’s place, sliding over from the right tackle spot that he manned to begin the season.

Fant has done a very good job in pass protection. The former Seahawk has yielded just four pressures over 122 snaps in pass protection as a starting left tackle, a rate of 3.3%. That ranks third-best over the past three weeks behind Chicago’s Charles Leno (2.3%) and the Giants’ Andrew Thomas (2.9%).

However, the Jets sorely miss Becton in the run game. Fant has a 51.6 run-blocking grade at Pro Football Focus since moving to left tackle, which ranks at the 25th percentile among all tackles since Week 2.

Since Becton went out, the Jets have picked up just 18 rushing yards over eight carries directed outside of the left tackle (2.3 per carry, 6.0 per game). That includes a ghastly average of 0.4 yards before contact per carry (3 yards in total).

Overall, the Jets’ offensive line has been on a roller-coaster ride without Becton. The unit has shown flashes of excellence in both phases – dominating the Patriots in the run game in Week 2 and shutting down the Titans in the passing game in Week 4 – but has not been able to put everything together on a consistent basis.

Speaking to the media on Friday, head coach Robert Saleh said he believes the offensive line has been “pretty darn good.”

Is Saleh correct? Well, it depends on where you look. The reviews on New York’s offensive line are all over the place.

The basic box score statistics paint an ugly picture. The Jets are 27th in yards per rush attempt (3.6) and 31st in sacks allowed per game (4.0).

Even from an advanced analytics perspective, things are not pretty. Zach Wilson has been pressured on 42.8% of his dropbacks, according to PFF, which ranks third-highest among qualified quarterbacks.

However, PFF’s grading system is surprisingly fond of the Jets’ offensive line. They have the Jets’ team-wide pass-blocking grade at 58.3, ranking 18th out of 32 teams. New York’s team-wide run-blocking grade of 65.5 ranks 13th.

PFF puts a heavy amount of blame on Wilson and the running backs for the pass protection and rushing struggles, respectively. They have tagged Wilson as responsible for six sacks (tied for most among QBs) and 10 total pressures (tied for 2nd-most among QBs). The rookie has certainly been guilty of holding the ball too long at times.

In the run game, while Michael Carter has been solid, Ty Johnson and Tevin Coleman are each ranked among the least effective rushers in the league.

Becton was given a 4-to-8 week timetable for his return following the season opener, which means the earliest he could return is in Week 7 when the Jets come out of their Week 6 bye to visit the Patriots in New England.

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Michael Nania is one of the best analytical New York Jets minds in the world, combining his statistical expertise with game film to add proper context to the data. Nania scrapes every corner, ensuring you know all there is to know about everyone from the QB to the long snapper. Nania's Numbers, Nania's QB Grades, and Nania's All-22 give fans a deeper and more well-rounded dive into the Jets than anyone else can offer. Email: michael.nania[at] - Twitter: @Michael_Nania
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