“It was a mistake,” Becton told Newsday’s Bob Glauber during a tell-all interview over the offseason. “It made no sense to put me at right tackle. I hurt my right knee. That’s going to be the knee that I put the most pressure on [while backpedaling in pass protection]. I explained it [to the coaches], but no one cared.”
Those comments set up the Jets for an odd training camp battle — considering Duane Brown has not played right tackle since college and head coach Robert Saleh has seemingly backed the veteran at every turn. Then as practices began, Becton mostly played second-team left tackle behind Billy Turner, spurring the narrative that he might refuse the righthand side altogether during the preseason.
Today on August 1, Becton had a refreshing take on this situation while addressing the media, however, and his newfound coachability was somewhat eye-opening. The Athletic’s Zack Rosenblatt relayed the change of heart live from camp, noting that “Becton said his goal is to be a starter in Week 1.”
He then quoted Becton directly, who stated: “Wherever they want me, I just want to be on the field.”
Saleh also spoke to the media on August 1, echoing a similar sentiment on Becton’s willingness to lineup with the second- and third-team offense this summer. The Jets HC explained that Becton called it “such good work” — what a positive shift for the Jets at OT.
Jets’ Mekhi Becton Calms Trade Talks, But Won’t Deny Them Outright
Over the past couple of weeks, Becton had become the subject of trade chatter. The theory (from SNY’s Connor Hughes) was that if the former first rounder didn’t start at left tackle, he wouldn’t settle for a backup role.
Given his prior relationship with the coaching staff, Hughes thought a demotion could lead to him forcing his way out of town — and the Jets honoring his request with him approaching a walk year in 2024.
Today, Becton’s admission calmed trade talks slightly. After all, beating out Max Mitchell for the right tackle job should be a little easier than besting Brown — once he’s healthy. Having said that, Mitchell’s no slouch, and he’s outperformed Becton so far this summer.
Still, it should make for a good battle, with Turner and Yodny Cajuste also in the mix as veteran swing tackles and rookie Carter Warren likely redshirting his initial season in the league. That’s solid depth, and if Becton is content — good business by the Jets.
There was one nervy response from the hulking offensive tackle on August 1 though. Rosenblatt once again acted as the intermediary between Becton and the fans, informing: “Mekhi Becton [was] asked if he’d request a trade if he’s not starting in Week 1. ‘That’s far in the future,’ [Becton replied]. Said he’s just trying to take it day by day.”
For fans, every OT snap is must-watch television during the 2023 preseason.
Jets’ Mekhi Becton Shares Weight, Which Is Best It’s Been Since College
There were a couple of other interesting remarks from Becton’s press conference on August 1. One, the blocker known as the “Big Ticket” actually shared his weight for the first time in a long time.
Rosenblatt tweeted that Becton claimed he weighs 350 pounds now, which is his “lightest” number since college. Needless to say, when the O-tackle was up near 400 pounds — or over that mark — he never revealed his exact weight to reporters.
Becton also acknowledged that his knee was never fully healed going into 2022 training camp. In the past, he blamed coaches and the position change for his new injury but on August 1, he simply stated: “I didn’t get the surgery I was supposed to get.”
Some more humility from a prospect that appears to be changing his tune for the better.