It has been a natural acclimation so far for Mekhi Becton as the New York Jets rookie left tackle has certainly looked the part. His development and growth is a major key for an offensive line that went through a major overhaul this past offseason.
And no addition to the line is bigger than Becton, who has had a good start to training camp according to head coach Adam Gase. On Sunday during his virtual conference call with the media, Gase was asked if Becton, taken No. 11 overall in April’s NFL Draft, “is swimming” out on the field.
“No, not even close. It’s funny, he looks like he’s been doing this for a minute. It looks very natural for him,” Gase told reporters.
“I’m like you guys, anytime a rookie gets plugged into that starting offensive line, we all know it’s a lot, and especially going against the defense, our defense every day you’re getting a lot of different looks. He looks comfortable to me. And he’s not making mistakes. I’ve been extremely impressed by how he’s operating as far as his knowledge of football, how he’s retaining things, acquiring the information, recalling it, and then at the same time executing, playing fast. He’s doing a really good job.”
Becton, of course, turned heads last year as an All-ACC left tackle at Louisville. He then ran an impressive 5.1 time in the 40 at the NFL Combine, doing so at a hulking 6-foot-7, 364 pounds.
The immediate returns on Becton are promising, an especially important development given that he will be protecting quarterback Sam Darnold’s blindside. Last season, Darnold was sacked 33 times in 13 games, a number that the Jets are hoping to lower in 2020 so as to preserve their franchise quarterback.
This offseason, the Jets signed three projected starters in free agency as well as drafting Becton to complete a revamp of a unit that was among the worst in football a year ago. They also re-signed guard Alex Lewis, who was acquired in a trade from the Baltimore Ravens before the start of last season.
Perhaps the only bit of bad news about the offensive line is Cameron Clark’s injury. The rookie is week-to-week with a shoulder injury he suffered two weeks ago.
“It was just kind of one of those things where it was like freak deal where his arm got extended and his shoulder kind of got tied up,” Gase said.
Clark was a fourth round pick of the Jets who projects as a guard. Like Becton, he trained before the draft with Duke Manyweather, the famed trainer who specializes in offensive linemen.