Mekhi Becton, PFF Grade, NY Jets, Myles Garrett
Mekhi Becton, New York Jets, Getty Images

Mekhi Becton’s on-field prowess has become underrated

Being concerned about Mekhi Becton‘s ability to stay on the field is completely warranted. Once the 2021 season concludes, he will have played 100% of the New York Jets‘ offensive snaps in just eight out of 33 possible career games.

What isn’t warranted is using those durability woes as a reason to downplay the supreme level of talent he has shown on the field. It seems that many Jets fans have completely forgotten how good Becton looked as a 21-year-old rookie left tackle in 2020.

Becton’s loudest critics couple their complaints about his apparent fragility with criticism of his play. I have seen him labeled as the “OL version of Mims” (go search for it on Twitter, I’m not making it up).

Why are we doing this?

It is completely okay for fans to be worried about whether Becton can stay healthy enough to establish himself as a long-term building block for the Jets. But that is a separate issue from his on-field performance. There is no reason to retroactively start acting like he hasn’t performed well on the field just because he isn’t on it right now.

In 2020, Becton set a tremendous foundation for the rest of his career, showing superstar-level potential.

Over the final seven weeks of the 2020 season, Pro Football Focus scored Becton with a 78.3 pass-blocking grade and a 72.4 run-blocking grade. Those marks ranked ninth and 10th, respectively, among qualified left tackles over that span. Some of the matchups he dueled with over that span include Joey Bosa, Maxx Crosby, and Myles Garrett.

Becton was one of only six left tackles to rank top-10 in both categories over that time period. Of that six-man bunch, he was the only rookie.

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And this was as an uber-young rookie at 21 years old – not to mention, one that was expected to have a long growth curve since he was coming from an unconventional offense at Louisville.

Don’t like PFF grades? Go watch one of the many film breakdowns we’ve done on Becton here at Jets X-Factor. PFF’s evaluation of Becton aligns with what his tape shows.

Further supporting the legitimacy of Becton’s production is an ESPN survey of 50-plus NFL executives, coaches, scouts, and players released prior to the 2021 season that features Becton as the sixth-ranked offensive tackle in the league.

In a limited number of reps this preseason, Becton was dominant. Yes, he was mostly facing second-string players, but he looked like a man amongst boys against those backups, just as you would hope for him to look.

Becton has a long way to go on the road to proving that he can be trusted to last throughout a 17-game NFL season. He also still has some technical refinements to make in his game before he can hit his ceiling and elevate from a “very good” tackle to an “elite” one.

Just don’t overlook how remarkable it is that Becton can already be objectively labeled a “very good” starting tackle as a mere 22-year-old with only 14 NFL starts under his belt. The kid is already a strong player and has the potential to become much, much more.

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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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9 months ago

Great when he plays. HAS to play next year. Has to.

9 months ago
Reply to  Jimjets

Has to

9 months ago

Guilty. I have for sure. Problem is, it’s hard to remember because the team was so bad last season, and he’s missed this entire season. Combine that with his documented weight issues and it’s easy for people to question him. Add in Fant’s solid play and bam you have the makings of a draft day bust. Clearly, there were concerns around the NFL at draft time, and worries about “want to” are the worst. He can have all the talent in the world but it’s not useful for the team on IR. The fact he had an entire off-season in a professional program and he still came back out of shape and was called out by a coach is a major red flag. Hopefully this off-season he gets it. So, yeah, I have forgotten about his talent because it hasn’t been on display.