Week 1 was a disaster for the New York Jets, but it’s OK for fans to get excited about the performance of Mekhi Becton.
Although the New York Jets have a ton of things to clean up before Week 2, there was one big bright spot on Sunday afternoon—emphasis on big. Mekhi Becton was fantastic in his NFL debut against a solid edge rusher in Jerry Hughes.
Taking over the left tackle spot is a tall task for any rookie, but Becton was up to the challenge. Although the Jets still need to work out some kinks on the offensive line, Becton’s first game under the bright lights of the NFL was an encouraging sign for the future of the offense.
Becton allowed one sack, a coverage sack, and one other pressure. He had a total grade on Pro Football Focus of 77.2 (11th best in the NFL at offensive tackle), the highest among all rookie offensive lineman, and the fifth-highest for a rookie at any position. The next closest rookie offensive tackle was Jedrick Wills who had 63.2. Becton had a 72.8 pure pass-blocking grade and had the third-highest grade among all offensive tackles in true pass block sets in the NFL. He also put up a 77.4 run-blocking grade.
The only Jets offensive lineman with a better grade was Alex Lewis (82.9), but that’s misleading. Lewis had a run block grade over 90, but his pass block grade was just a 44.9. Becton was the only Jets offensive lineman to put together a pass-blocking grade of 60 or better.
The numbers for Becton’s Week 1 performance were encouraging and the film reinforces the data. It’s impossible to miss Becton’s massive frame when he’s on the field. The 6-foot-7 tank could be seen tossing other massive human beings on almost every other play on Sunday.
NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger posted a lengthy “Baldy’s Breakdown” on Twitter of Becton’s dominance. It didn’t matter if it was in the run game or on passing plays, Becton was rock-solid on the left side of the line.
The Big Ticket @BigTicket73 Mekhi Becton was worth the price of admission in his @nyjets debut. I haven't seen every rookie in week 1 but he is the best rookie I've seen thus far #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/DfKLuFEAzT
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) September 14, 2020
What Comes Next For Becton?
As great as Becton looked in Week 1, it’s still important to temper expectations for the young lineman. He showed out against the Bills and Jerry Hughes, but he’s up against a murderer’s row of pass rushers over the next five weeks.
The upcoming schedule for Mekhi Becton
– Nick Bosa
– Justin Houston
– Bradley Chubb
– Chandler Jones (splits his time between both sides)
– Joey Bosa/Melvin Ingram (they alternate sides about 50/50)
— Michael Nania (@Michael_Nania) September 15, 2020
That list of opponents is no joke. Nick Bosa had nine sacks and 25 quarterback hits last season en route to AP Defensive Player of the Year honors. Justin Houston made a living getting to the quarterback in Kansas City and picked up right where he left off when he arrived in Indianapolis last year. Bradley Chubb is looking to bounce back after an injury-plagued 2019, but he compiled 12 sacks during his rookie year in 2018.
Chandler Jones is a relentless pass rusher, although as Jets X-Factor’s Michael Nania notes, he moves around on the line. It’s likely that the Cardinals will look to isolate him on George Fant on the right side.
And to cap off this brutal five-game stretch, Becton will have to see a steady diet of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram when the Jets play the Chargers.
If he comes out of the next five weeks looking as good as he did in Week 1, go out and buy that Becton jersey because he’s going to be in green for a very long time. A dominant left tackle is invaluable in the NFL and the early returns on Becton are promising.
Kyle Newman contributed to this story.