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New York Jets reportedly split on future of 2020 first-round pick Mekhi Becton

Matt Johnson
New York Jets, Mekhi Becton
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets drafted Mekhi Becton with the 11th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft hoping he would become a pillar on the left side for years to come. Nearly two years later, it seems the organization is now split on whether or not to even keep him.

Becton, a first-team All-ACC selection in 2019, entered the NFL with a ton of promise. The former Lousiville offensive tackle was viewed as one of the best prospects in his draft class and New York happily selected him over the likes of Tristan Wirfs, CeeDee Lamb and Justin Jefferson in 2020.

But it didn’t take long for the positive feelings about Becton to fade away. Reports surfaced earlier this season that New York wasn’t happy with Becton for his work ethic and conditioning. It came after the second-year lineman faced criticism for his weight this summer, with NFL insider Charles Robinson reporting in August that Becton’s weight ballooned over 363 lbs. 

While Becton opened the season as the Jets’ starting left tackle, a knee injury on Sep. 12 sidelined him. New York immediately placed him on injured reserve and he hasn’t played since, with the coaching staff effectively ruling him out for the remainder of the season.

Now, according to Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline, there is a divide between the Jets’ coaching staff and front office regarding Becton’s future.

New York’s coaching staff reportedly wants to move into the 2022 season with George Fant at left tackle. While he has struggled at times, the veteran is reliable and coaches know he will show up fully committed for practices and games. But the same can’t be said for Becton.

  • New York Jets record (Joe Douglas era): 13-35

ESPN reported in December that Becton now weighs over 370 lbs. and poor conditioning is becoming a problem once again. That report is echoed by Pauline, who shared that Becton has reportedly caused issues for coaches by ‘tapping out’ of practices and games.

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New York Jets’ recent draft misses

But New York’s front office wants to make things work with Becton, believing he can be a quality offensive tackle if he puts the time in. However, part of that belief might be tied into a desire to avoid admitting failure just a few years after the 2020 NFL Draft.

New York hired general manager Joe Douglas in 2019, a year after the franchise drafted Sam Darnold. But he has seemingly made bad decisions every year. The Jets spent the 68th pick in 2019 on edge rusher Jachai Polite, only to waive him on Aug. 31. As for the 2020 draft class, both Becton (11th pick) and wide receiver Denzel Mims (59th pick) are becoming draft busts.

Douglas doesn’t seem to be on the hot seat right now, but there could be mounting pressure if the franchise cuts ties with its top 2020 picks after two seasons.