Robert Saleh updates New York Jets’ injuries entering Week 7
New York Jets left tackle Mekhi Becton went down with a knee injury in the team’s regular-season opener against the Carolina Panthers after teammate Greg Van Roten fell on his leg. Becton underwent surgery after the game and was given an estimated return timetable of four to eight weeks.
It looks like Becton’s return will come on the latter end of that spectrum.
Speaking to the media on Monday following the conclusion of the Jets’ bye week, head coach Robert Saleh said Becton is “a few weeks away yet” from a return.
Robert Saleh on Mekhi Becton:
"He's chomping at the bit to get back, but as far as a concrete evaluation, I wouldn't have one right now" pic.twitter.com/o02vNpMgCv
— Jets Videos (@snyjets) October 18, 2021
“But he’s been working hard, he’s in pretty good shape,” Saleh said. “I know he’s chomping at the bit to get back. But as far as a concrete evaluation, I wouldn’t have one for you right now.”
Becton – who is still only 22 years old – is looking to build off of his early-career success and establish himself as one of the league’s best left tackles.
From Weeks 11-17 of his rookie season, Becton ranked as the league’s ninth-best pass-blocking left tackle and 10th-best run-blocking left tackle at Pro Football Focus. He was one of just six left tackles ranked top-10 in both categories over that span and was the only rookie of that bunch.
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Becton had a tumultuous 2021 offseason that was mired by oft-documented struggles in practice against star teammate Carl Lawson.
However, Becton shrugged off those woes to have a dominant two-game preseason run against the inferior competition of the Giants and Packers. He finished the preseason as PFF’s third-ranked overall left tackle among qualifiers.
George Fant has taken over at left tackle for Becton in his absence. Fant has been thriving in pass protection but is struggling in the run game. New York’s rushing attack has sorely missed Becton’s menacing presence on the left side.
Once Becton returns, he will get to play alongside burgeoning rookie left guard Alijah Vera-Tucker, who has been improving rapidly since Becton’s exit. The duo of homegrown first-round picks is slated to be a core component of the Jets’ offensive future and should provide a sizable boost to the team once reunited.
Durability will be key for Becton to fulfill his potential. Through six weeks of the 2021 season, Becton has played in 15 out of 21 possible career regular-season games (71%), but he has only started and finished the game without missing a snap in eight games (38%).