The New York Jets played a game of musical chairs on the offensive line this week.
With Mekhi Becton shuffling out and Duane Brown sliding in, everything seems to have been figured out ahead of the season. However, there is one more test that needs to take place and its results could affect the next move by Gang Green.
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A Challenge of Epic Proportions
You may be thinking with Brown now in the fold, the Jets are done with offensive line additions this offseason. In the wise words of Lee Corso, not so fast my friends.
Gang Green hosted the former All-Pro on a multi-day visit prior to any of the injuries in the trenches. They were hoping to add him as an insurance tackle, but due to injury Brown is now being plugged into the starting lineup.
Head coach Robert Saleh spoke to the media prior to the Jets adding Brown and stated the right tackle competition is “wide open.” That is no longer the case as the combination of Brown and George Fant will be the new starting tackle tandem.
However, there is still a very valuable nugget you can take from that Saleh presser. Rookie offensive tackle Max Mitchell has turned some heads at camp and is ready to shock some people:
“I love his play demeanor, mindset, and where he is at with regards to responsibility and execution. Obviously, he has a ways to go in terms of understanding pass sets and how to play in those one-on-one situations and the same thing in the run game. So he is learning and I promise you he has never seen ends like we have and they’re all like that in the NFL. I like where he is at and he still has a ways to go, but he is a lot further along than we thought.”
The Work May Be Done
That last comment by Saleh is in relation to his college tape. Mitchell was projected by draft analysts as a developmental swing tackle prospect.
In other words, anyone who selected him in the 2022 NFL draft wasn’t expected to get any immediate results this season, but if you nurtured and developed him he could be a potential starter in 2023.
However, according to Saleh, Mitchell has surpassed those expectations and suggested during his presser that he could be ready to go in 2022.
Was that typical coaching hype we hear every year in training camp? Or was this a legitimate surprising discovery by the Jets coaching staff?
We are going to find out on Friday, August 12 as Mitchell is set to face off against a talented Philadelphia Eagles front in the preseason opener.
How long the Eagles’ starters will play is very much up in the air, but regardless it’ll be a good test for Mitchell to show how much he has learned.
If he delivers on Saleh’s bold words then perhaps the Jets will be done adding offensive tackles to the roster. Mitchell, in theory, could become the team’s swing tackle and you’d have a strong starting duo of Brown/Fant.
Although if he falters in any meaningful way the Jets at the very least will have to consider the possibility of adding another proven guy to the bench ahead of the season.