The NY Jets never expected Max Mitchell to be positioned in a starting role last season. The 2022 fourth-round pick was drafted as a developmental swing tackle option who could potentially push for a starting role in the future.
Unfortunately, following a slew of injuries to the other offensive tackles on the Jets' roster, Mitchell was thrust into a starting role, and to his credit, he exceeded expectations.
Mitchell started the first four games of the season at right tackle before an injury of his own left him sidelined. He would return in Week 11, only to land on the injured reserve again, this time due to an illness.
Although he only appeared in six games as a rookie, the Jets were clearly impressed by Mitchell's performance, and he actually has an opportunity to win a starting job this summer.
The Athletic's Zack Rosenblatt reported earlier this week that Mitchell "has a real shot to push for the starting right tackle job, even over [Mekhi] Becton."
Max Mitchell could beat out Mekhi Becton for the NY Jets' starting right tackle job
Mekhi Becton is expected to enter the summer in a "competition" with veteran Duane Brown for the starting left tackle job, but if Brown is healthy, all signs point to him being the team's Week 1 blindside protector.
That leaves Becton in a possible competition with Mitchell and veteran Billy Turner for the right tackle spot. Becton has previously expressed his desire to play left tackle, but he might not have a choice.
Most would assume that if Becton is willing to play right tackle, the job is his. But that's just not the case. There's a very real possibility that Becton starts the year as a bench player for the Jets.
Whether that means Mitchell or Turner earns the starting job, both players are very much in the mix. Turner has the experience and history with Nathaniel Hackett, but the Jets remain very high on Mitchell.
If he comes in this summer and shows signs of significant improvement, he absolutely has a chance to win the starting right tackle job. That's not just talk — it's reality.
Becton has played one game in two years and has been vocal about how uncomfortable it is for him to play right tackle. Meanwhile, the Jets know exactly what they're getting in Turner: a fringe starting-caliber swing tackle.
Mitchell has legitimate upside, and the Jets were impressed by what they saw during his rookie season. He may not be the favorite, but don't be shocked if Mitchell beats out Becton and Turner to earn the Week 1 right tackle job.