1. Mekhi Becton, OT, NY Jets
No player on the Jets' roster has more to lose or gain on Thursday than Mekhi Becton. This will be Becton's first live in-game action since his first devastating knee injury in the 2021 season opener.
It's been a long time coming for Becton, who has battled back from consecutive season-ending knee injuries. The former first-round pick has dropped over 50 pounds and is in the best shape of his professional career.
That said, he's still a long way from challenging for a starting job. Becton has worked exclusively with the second-team offense at left tackle this summer, with Max Mitchell and Billy Turner battling for the starting right tackle job.
With Duane Brown expected to be ready in time for Week 1, it's hard to see a path to a starting role for Becton right now. In fact, there's every chance the Jets decide to move him before the season starts.
Either way, Becton is out to prove to the Jets, other teams, and himself that the player the NFL saw as a rookie is still there. There will likely be some rust to be shaken off. After all, there's no substitute for live in-game reps.
But if Becton goes out and shows signs of the dominance he displayed during his rookie season, it'll go a long way toward earning him a starting role either with the Jets or another team this year.
Nearly two years of grueling rehab will culminate when Becton takes the field for the first time on Thursday. Here's to hoping he makes a strong impression on the coaching staff.