Mekhi Becton knows about the narratives surrounding him
It’s safe to say that New York Jets offensive tackle Mekhi Becton went through the wringer in his second NFL season. While he wasn’t beat by opposing defensive ends, he instead suffered a brutal knee injury that knocked him out for the season in Week 1.
Throughout his absence, the Jets’ beat and other media reported Becton wasn’t exactly committed to his rehab and getting back on the field. Whether he was labeled “overweight”, “lazy”, or as someone with a “bad work ethic”, fans and media were sure to lay all of the criticisms out there.
The 22-year-old offensive lineman seems to be well aware of the narratives surrounding him in the public eye.
On Tuesday, Becton reposted an Instagram graphic by CBS Sports titled “Critical Moves Each Team Should Make”. Put together by NFL reporter Jason La Canfora, the “critical move” for the Jets involved a worst-case scenario with their star left tackle.
“Prepare as if Mekhi Becton is not the answer at left tackle”, the graphic reads.
Becton also responded to Twitter critics on Tuesday morning.
Your weight this morning ?
— Frank (@jeff_clippard) March 1, 2022
— Trending Topic 🤫 (@BigTicket73) March 1, 2022
This scrutiny is nothing new for Becton, who has been under fire over his injury since midseason in 2021. What was projected to be a six-to-eight-week injury ended up wiping him out for the rest of the season.
To make the situation even more complicated, the Jets’ right tackle, George Fant, put together an elite season filling in for Becton on the left side. As discussed previously here, Fant made it known in 2021 that he is capable of being a great left tackle in this league.
Fant’s great work, combined with Becton missing lots of time, paved the way for head coach Robert Saleh to announce an open competition for the left tackle spot when speaking to the media at the Senior Bowl.
Jets coach Robert Saleh says it will be a competition at left tackle between George Fant and Mekhi Becton
— Brian Costello (@BrianCoz) February 1, 2022
With everything that’s come out about Becton over the past year, it is clear that he hears the noise.
We saw before the 2021 season that Becton was in incredible shape and ready to dominate after a strong rookie campaign. Becton allowed 23 pressures over 690 offensive snaps in 2020, providing solid pass protection for whoever was under center. The run game was where he especially shined, consistently paving over defenders and making lanes to earn the nickname “Highway 77”.
Fans are restless and the pressure is on for Becton. We’ve seen how dominant he can be. If he can return to impeccable shape like a year ago and dominate in camp, there is no doubt that the former 11th overall pick will not only win the fans back but win the privilege to keep quarterback Zach Wilson safe from the blindside on Sundays.
Oliver Cochrane is on Twitter @OliverJCochrane