The NY Jets have been hesitant to give Mekhi Becton first-team reps this summer as the former first-round pick continues to work his way back from consecutive season-ending knee injuries.
But following his performance in Saturday's preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Becton has proved that he no longer needs to be protected. He's ready for a starting role.
Becton came in as the second-team right tackle and went on to play 25 snaps before he was removed from the game. The Jets could not have been more thrilled with his performance.
Becton didn't allow a single pressure on 18 pass-block snaps and was outstanding in the run game. The Jets averaged 9.5 yards per attempt on eight carries with Becton on the field, rushing for 76 total yards. Without Becton, the Jets averaged just 3.6 yards per attempt on the same number of carries.
If it wasn't clear already, it's time for the Jets to start considering Becton as a legitimate starting option.
Mekhi Becton deserves starting consideration from the NY Jets
The Jets have continued to trot out the likes of Billy Turner and Max Mitchell at tackle for most of the summer while Duane Brown has been sidelined. That hasn't exactly gone very well.
Turner and Mitchell have struggled immensely, leaving the Jets without a viable starting right tackle at this time. Becton is hoping to change those plans.
The Jets have been very cautious with Becton this summer. They have steered clear of giving him first-team reps at either tackle spot, citing his inability to play a full game as the reason. They've also been hesitant to stick him at right tackle, given his previous aversion to the position.
Becton proved on Saturday, though, that the training wheels need to come off. The Jets need to give Becton a serious opportunity to win the starting right tackle job.
If the Jets' plan is to play their best five offensive linemen, Becton needs to be a part of that plan. That shouldn't be a debate. If Becton is healthy, he's arguably the most talented offensive lineman on the roster.
Mekhi Becton has passed every test the Jets have given him to this point. The next step is an opportunity to start.