When Mekhi Becton injured his knee in Week 1 against the Panthers, the consensus was that the starting left tackle would return in four-to-six weeks.
That didn't happen.
Becton ended up missing the rest of the season, playing in only 48 snaps all year.
With each passing week, reporters inquired with head coach Robert Saleh about Becton's status. Each week his timeline to return to practice and eventually in-game action was delayed.
So, what exactly happened with Becton and his injury this past season?
Allow Mike Garafolo of NFL Network to explain:
Boy is he a difference-maker when he is on and he is healthy. But we haven't seen that in a while. Only played one game this year. Had that knee injury and was expected to miss a little more than a month and then just missed the rest of the season. It was kind of a mysterious deal. Here's my understanding in speaking to sources familiar with what happened here. He was having issues. Obviously the knee did not come along as quickly as they had hoped. And then what happened was, because he wasn't able to do the kind of things that he needed to do to get into rehab and get back in shape, he put on weight. Weight has been an issue with Becton. We knew that coming into the draft, we knew that coming into his NFL career. This is something where he's going to have to continue to rehab that knee, he's going to have to get back in shape. The Jets are hopeful that he will be back in shape, ready to go physically and mentally for the start of OTAs, but we'll see how that goes.
That comment seems to align with Saleh's updates throughout the season in addition to what general manager Joe Douglas had to say last week.
"Mekhi is a bigger man and so it took him longer to heal than we originally expected," Douglas told reporters. "So, it wasn’t really anyone’s fault and it wasn’t Mekhi’s fault, it wasn’t the doctor’s fault, the process became longer than we originally thought."
Becton is listed on the team's website at 363 pounds. As Garafolo alluded to, his weight has been a topic of conversation even before New York used the 11th overall selection of the 2020 draft on the lineman.
Former Jets offensive lineman Damien Woody chimed in on Becton's weight earlier this offseason as well, telling Becton he needs to get in the best shape of his life in order to stay on the field and contribute to his potential.
Odds are the Jets stick with Becton entering next season, using him as their starting left tackle, but there are certainly no guarantees. New York could roll with George Fant, who did a tremendous job filling in on the left side in Becton's place. They could also replace Becton in the draft, targeting a top-ranked tackle like Evan Neal, Charles Cross or Ikem Ekwonu.
Even without Becton, the Jets had the 11th-ranked offensive line in the NFL this past season, per PFF.
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