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NY Jets: Mekhi Becton might not be guaranteed a starting job

NY Jets (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
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NY Jets’ first-round pick Mekhi Becton might not be guaranteed a starter job in 2020.

The NY Jets understandably have high hopes for their first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Mekhi Becton. The plan is for the massive mauler out of Louisville to be the team’s long-term starter at left tackle.

But while that remains the plan for the future, could the present look a little different?

Becton undoubtedly has the physical traits to be an All-Pro caliber tackle at the next level. But the Jets might be willing to take their time with the promising blindside protector.

At least, that’s the speculation from Sports Illustrated’s Kristian Dyer who believes it’s very possible that Becton doesn’t begin the year as the Jets’ starting left tackle.

“But even with all the physical tools as well as his impressive showing at college, there is still lots to do for Becton to take that next step.

A left tackle is a quarterback’s best friend. And that responsibility might fall in the near-term to George Fant. Signed this offseason from the Seattle Seahawks, Fant was originally told he would be the Jets left tackle.”

Dyer cites Becton’s rawness and the signing of veteran tackle George Fant as two reasons why Becton could begin the year on the bench.

Fant was quoted earlier in the offseason stating that he “left Seattle to be a left tackle” and the understanding upon his signing was that’s exactly what he would do with the Jets. Obviously plans changed and Fant insisted that he was versatile and willing to move around.

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There’s evidently no friction, but the Jets might decide that Fant is the better option to begin the year regardless.

The NY Jets might want not want to force Mekhi Becton into a situation he’s not ready for yet.

Becton is a physical specimen who stands at 6-foot-7 and weighs in at 364 pounds. The way he’s able to move around for a person his size is something straight out of a work of fiction. He checks all the boxes from an athletic standpoint.

But in terms of his actual technique, there’s still room for improvement.

While Becton remains a stout run blocker, his pass protection could use a bit more refinement. Oftentimes Becton will find himself lunging at the opposition too early as opposed to allowing the defender to come to him.

This is likely a product of overzealousness brought on by the fact that he can move opposing players back with ease when engaged. It’s coachable, but it could lead to a few embarrassing missteps early in his career.

Fant is hardly a finished product as a pass protector either, but the Jets may feel more comfortable rolling with an established veteran at left tackle at least early in the season.

Consider the fact that it will also be more difficult for rookies to become acquainted than in any prior season due to COVID-19 restrictions. This is especially troublesome for developmental prospects like Becton.

Still, the safe money should be on Becton starting at left tackle come Week 1 while Fant battles it out with Chuma Edoga for the starting right tackle job.

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But that all depends on how Becton looks in training camp and if the Jets feel he’s ready for a starting role.

It’s likely, but far from a guarantee.

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