Mekhi Becton looked more than comfortable in his debut at right tackle for the New York Jets
Heading into Saturday’s preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the New York Jets had Mekhi Becton take reps at right tackle in 11-on-11 drills for the first time this offseason. Becton had been occasionally lining up at right tackle in walkthroughs, but these were his first live reps at right tackle all year.
Looking to further test Becton’s abilities at right tackle, Robert Saleh and the Jets decided to play him there against Tampa Bay.
Becton came in at right tackle with the second-team offensive line (Billy Turner started at RT). The 24-year-old went on to play 25 offensive snaps. Although that is two fewer snaps than the 27 he played against Carolina last week, Becton’s snap ratio went up to 47.2%, a new preseason high after he logged a 39.5% rate against Carolina and a 14.9% rate against Cleveland.
And boy, did he deliver.
Becton did not miss a beat after switching sides. Throughout his appearance against Tampa Bay, Becton was consistently dominant in both phases. He held steady in one-on-one pass-rush reps and created huge amounts of movement in the run game.
— Michael Nania (@Michael_Nania) August 20, 2023
These were Becton’s first reps at a position other than left tackle in an NFL game, although it is not the first time he has ever played right tackle. However, it’s the first time he has lined up at right tackle since his sophomore year at Louisville in 2018.
Over his first two seasons with the Cardinals (2017-18), Becton would consistently swap between left and right tackle in the middle of each game. He played 730 snaps at left tackle and 778 snaps at right tackle between his freshman and sophomore seasons.
As a junior, Louisville had Becton stay at left tackle full-time.
Becton continues to trend in a positive direction for the Jets. He has increased his snap ratio in back-to-back games with no injury setbacks (as far as we know), and now, he has shown he is capable of lining up at right tackle.
That’s not necessarily a definitive statement – Becton needs more than 25 snaps against backups to indisputably prove he can play right tackle at a high level – but this performance against the Bucs serves as strong evidence that Becton can, at the very least, provide competence on the right side. Max Mitchell and Billy Turner haven’t done that.
If Becton earns the coaching staff’s trust as a right tackle, New York’s messy offensive line situation would become a whole lot easier. The Jets could simply place Becton on the right side (providing a huge upgrade over Turner or Mitchell) and give the left tackle spot to Duane Brown once he returns. This would allow Alijah Vera-Tucker to stay at right guard, his best position.
This has been a mostly positive preseason for Becton. He is headed down the right path. But have the Jets’ coaches seen enough to pencil him in as a starter? That remains to be seen.
One more performance like this one, though, and it will be hard for the coaching staff to deny that Becton deserves to start against Buffalo, regardless of his durability questions.