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Robert Saleh declares LT competition between Mekhi Becton, George Fant

Mekhi Becton, George Fant, NY Jets
Mekhi Becton, George Fant, New York Jets, Getty Images

Mekhi Becton, George Fant to battle for New York Jets’ left tackle spot

Speaking to reporters at the Senior Bowl for the first time since the New York Jets‘ coaching staff arrived, Jets head coach Robert Saleh has already dropped a bomb.

Per Connor Hughes of The Athletic, Saleh stated that third-year tackle Mekhi Becton is not guaranteed the team’s starting left tackle job and will have to beat out George Fant for the role.

Hughes added that Saleh “indicated it’s mental” and that Becton’s issues are not related to talent.

Saleh appeared to be critical of Becton, making it clear that the competition for the position is wide open. The coach also confirmed that the possibility of drafting a left tackle and having Becton compete for the right tackle spot is on the table.

Fant took over for Becton at left tackle during the Jets’ 2021 season-opener in Carolina after Becton went down with a knee injury. Becton was initially projected to miss four to six weeks but ended up missing the entire season.

In Becton’s absence, Fant did everything he could to stake his claim to the left tackle spot. He allowed pressure on only 3.0% of his snaps in pass protection, ranking third-best among qualified left tackles in 2021. It’s the lowest single-season rate allowed by a Jets tackle since Pro Football Focus began tracking pressures in 2006.

The 11th overall pick in the 2020 draft, Becton played in 14 games as a rookie but only played 100% of the offensive snaps in eight of them. When healthy, Becton showed dominant potential in the run game but was up-and-down in pass protection.

Becton will turn 23 years old in April. Fant will turn 30 in July.

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2 years ago

This shows great leadership from Saleh. He isn’t afraid to challenge his guys while supporting them at the same time. My guess, I have no clue, is Becton is immature. When he was drafted, Douglas said something in the phone call that got my attention. Something along the lines of “we have a deal” or something to the effect. I think there were clearly concerns in the GM community Becton may not have the desire and maturity to develop into a dominant NFL player. Up to this point, all signs point to a lack of professionalism. Coming to OTA’s overweight, and clearly the OC had a problem with Becton’s grasp of the playbook. My guess is he’s not putting in the time. I’m not sure what Becton’s value is at this point but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a trade. I read what Moses said and it appears to me they will try to make a deal, if the Jets bring back the entire starting OL, add a draft pick and a pro backup they should be fine even without Becton. Side note, I think Mims has the same problem. I like that Saleh is letting everybody know there is personal responsibility involved with the next step to success.

2 years ago

George’s performance this year makes him a deserving candidate for the Left Tackle Position. Let competition decide.

2 years ago

On a 4 win team nobody should have a guaranteed starting job