The NY Jets enter the summer with a number of questions facing their offensive line, perhaps none more pertinent than who will start at both offensive tackle spots. One player to keep an eye on is former fourth-round pick Max Mitchell.
Mitchell was drafted to be a developmental project last year, but following a slew of injuries to the Jets' offensive tackles, he was thrust into a starting role. The 23-year-old went on to start five games for the Jets before his season was derailed due to a knee injury and later blood clots.
Now healthy again, Mitchell is looking to pick up where he left off in his rookie season. And it seems as though he'll have every opportunity to earn a starting job.
ESPN's Rich Cimini identified Mitchell as the Jets' biggest surprise offseason standout, highlighting that he put together a "strong offseason." The Jets seem to believe that he could develop into a long-term starter on the offensive line.
"[Max Mitchell], who missed time last season with a knee sprain and a hereditary blood clotting condition, rebounded with a strong offseason. Mitchell, who started five games in 2022 at right tackle, will compete for that job in training camp. He was in the midst of a solid rookie year when clots were discovered in one of his lungs and his right calf, ending his season. He can manage the condition with medication, which will allow him to continue his career."- Rich Cimini
Max Mitchell showed promise in his first season with the NY Jets
Mitchell started the first four games of the season last year after multiple injuries forced him into the starting lineup, and he absolutely held his own. He had his share of rookie gaffes, but given that he wasn't even expected to play in his first season, it's safe to say that Mitchell exceeded expectations.
A knee injury sidelined him for nearly two months, but he did return later in the season, only to start one game before landing on the injured reserve again — this time as a result of blood clots.
As Cimini notes, Mitchell has been given medication to manage his condition, so that shouldn't be an issue for him this season. Mitchell is healthy and ready to compete for a starting spot.
The assumption is that, if healthy, Duane Brown will be the Jets' Week 1 starting left tackle. That leaves Mitchell to compete with Mekhi Becton (who has previously voiced his displeasure with playing right tackle) and veteran Billy Turner for the right tackle job.
Becton has the obvious talent and upside. Turner has the experience. But Mitchell is a favorite of this Jets coaching staff and is very much in the mix for the starting job.
Don't be surprised if Max Mitchell makes some noise this summer. He has a shot to be the Jets' starting right tackle come Week 1.