Mekhi Becton’s rookie year expectations through the eyes of a New York Jets lifer.
Louisville football fans have known about Mekhi Becton and his potential for quite some time, but the New York Jets and the organizations fans are starting to figure out what they have in the “Big Ticket,”
Jet Up Nation is gaining ground on social media, having exploded since their beginnings on Twitter in March 2019. Anderson, founder of @jetupnationcrew, tells me this newly-found success is only tip of the iceberg.
“I’m going to start a blog and a podcast sometime soon,” Anderson said.
I sat down with Anderson to discuss what the future could have in store for Becton and the Jets.
How good will Mekhi Becton be in 2020?
“The league consensus seems to favor the Jets struggling throughout the year,” Anderson said.
His summation should come as no shock to even the most pedestrian NFL fans.
“To be fair, there’s a lot of changes internally that you can’t overlook. While the QB position stays the same, there’s still a completely revamped O-line that will take some time to come together,” he said.
A humbling, but accurate analysis of the offensive side of the ball still leaves room for at least some optimism for New York sneaking into perhaps an NFL Playoffs Wild Card situation.
“The stability of the WR/CB positions will dictate how successful we are in 2020-21. At best, my trust in Sam Darnold gives me 8-8/9-7 as a reasonable ceiling,” Anderson said.
With that being said, one of the major additions to the Jets offense is Becton, a stonewall addition to New York’s front line.
“Mekhi Becton will experience highs and lows this season. At the end of the day, he’s a rookie. Yet, I think I can speak on behalf of all Jets fans when I say the kid has every intangible to become one of the best tackles of all-time,” he said.
Anderson was preaching to the choir on this one. Louisville fans are all too familiar with the young man’s career potential. It was refreshing to hear this refrain from Mekhi’s new team’s supporters.
“Becton’s performance will have a significant impact on the Jets ceiling. In year one, we don’t need him to be perfect, but I’m expecting him to show why we drafted him at 11,” Anderson said.
One would have to think Jets GM Joe Douglass has his eyes set on Mekhi based on his mass and speed.
”With his size, agility, and sheer strength— he’s going to make Sam’s (Sam Darnold) and Lev’s (Le’Veon Bell) life so much easier,” he said.
The Goal in Year One is Development
So what about this season’s body of work? One of the more pertinent questions for those following Becton’s success story closely.
“Becton has the potential to become a perennial All-Pro,” Anderson said.
I too believe this is entirely possible.
“For those expectations to come to fruition, I think coaching is the undisputed biggest factor in his development,” Anderson said.
It seems Becton’s path to greatness could begin with his mentors.
“If Frank Pollack (Jets OL Coach) recognizes his strengths and weaknesses early on, then I can see a tremendous rookie campaign on the horizon,” Anderson said.
One thing remains true for any would-be blossoming rookie: it’s not all unicorns and rainbows at first.
“In addition to coaching, Becton will have to understand that there’s going to be triumphs and tribulations, so maintaining confidence is important. He will matchup against some of the leagues best edge rushers this year and it’ll be a big test,” Anderson said.
Even in early camp photos, you can tell Mekhi is up for the challenge. In one picture retweeted by Jet Up Nation, you can see him performing a block literally single-handedly.
”Physically, he can matchup,” Anderson said.
The mental aspect is going to be the obstacle.
“If he does begin winning match ups consistently, I don’t want him to be complacent. The kid has everything imaginable to be one of the best tackles we’ve seen in the NFL,” he said.
Anderson inserts a disclaimer for the reader:
”I don’t think Mekhi will be complacent with success, just from his mindset and interacting with his mother on Twitter, I can truly say the kid was brought up the right way. With success comes responsibility, and I see him living up to the expectations,” he said.
The week before Jets camp began, I was able to sit down with Mekhi’s mother, Semone, for an in-depth one-on-one about how the kid Mekhi Becton transformed into ”The Big Ticket” and now “Mount Becton”. It’s nice to see that her values and infectious resolve have rubbed off on someone else.
Could Mekhi Becton be the Missing Piece?
We all have faith in Mekhi taking care of business, but how does he measure up to the task of helping the Jets offense improve vastly from a season ago?
”For an offense that ranked near the bottom in many OL, rushing, and scoring categories, I think the arrival of Becton can transform the offensive success we’ve lacked in 2019-2020,” Anderson said.
The help up front starts with protecting his quarterback.
“Sam Darnold is the biggest beneficiary of drafting Becton, the Jets QB got thrown around like a rag doll last season and that’s not what you want to see happen to your long-term investment,” Anderson said.
It’s imperative that Darnold remain healthy in order for New York’s offense to flourish.
“In two seasons, Darnold missed 8 games due to injury/sickness. If we can prioritize his health, the Jets could possibly push for a wildcard spot in due time,” he said.
Most importantly, with Becton handling the left side of the pass rush, a right-handed Darnold can breathe easier in the pocket.
“With the emergence of Becton, Darnold’s blindside is in safe hands for seasons ahead. Same goes for Le’Veon Bell, who struggled to find a groove last season,” he said.
How Mekhi Becton’s impacts Le’Veon Bell
Perhaps Mekhi can issue some relief for these two playmakers.
“(Last season) The OL’s performance was abysmal. That is why Joe Douglas replaced 4/5 starters in Free Agency and the (NFL) draft. Having a mammoth of a man leading your protection and finishing blocks will be monumental for Bell,” he said.
Louisville standout running back Javian Hawkins can attest to this statement.
”At Louisville, he thrived in the rushing game, so if he can mirror that collegiate success and the rest of the OL does their part, you can expect a formidable rushing attack in 2020-21,” Anderson said.
“When you have a future Hall of Fame RB like Frank Gore (who has seen almost anything you can think of in the NFL) in awe of your agility, size, and strength— that’s a positive indication that you made the right decision,” he said.
NFL coaches and veterans are taking notice to what Mekhi brings to the table.
“In addition to (Frank) Gore, almost everyone has commented on Becton’s size, and the coaching staff seems to love what they see so far. Something that gets lost in translation is his devotion and openness to learning how to improve his game. The kid seems very coachable and eager to do whatever it takes to win games,” Anderson said.
With only being in New York pads and jersey for a couple weeks, Mekhi is showing his worth as a long-term investment.
“He’s been in Florham Park (Jets camp) for not even a month, and he’s already giving all he can and battling day in and day out against our best edge rusher, Jordan Jenkins. Becton’s ceiling is limitless, and there’s still so much untapped potential left to uncover at the professional level,” Anderson said.
This all sounds familiar.