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A trend starts with one datapoint: Mekhi Becton shines in performance against Buccaneers

Will Mekhi Becton be the right tackle the Jets need him to be?

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NFL: Preseason-New York Jets at Carolina Panthers Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

As detailed throughout the offseason, former rookie standout and New York Jets offensive tackle Mekhi Becton is trying to regain his starting spot on the offensive line after missing the last two seasons due to knee injuries.

While no single game (especially not a preseason game) should ever be used to determine a player’s worth, the early returns on this preseason suggest Becton may indeed be working his way back into a plus player. For reference, just check out his performance in the most recent game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers,

To call those strong PFF grades is to put it very lightly. For reference, an 85 overall grade would have been the 5th highest grade among all qualified tackles in 2022.

Additionally, while some are generally skeptical of PFF grades, they’re a bit easier to buy into when they’re accompanied by shows of dominance such as this:

These shows of dominance also may have a bit to do with why the run game splits with and without him look noticeably different, and suggest Becton should see more playing time. (Disclaimer, there are surely other factors at play but I thought this stat was cool so here ya go.)

Importantly, and I cannot say this enough times, one should always be wary of interpreting small sample sizes. In perhaps my favorite example that may be familiar to Jets fans, former Jets safety Antonio Allen once put on a great performance covering former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. While Allen may have been great that day and Gronk not so great, Allen wasn’t great much in the games that followed and was out of the league shortly thereafter. By comparison, Gronkowski kept dominating for years to come and might just be the most valuable football player who was not a quarterback within the first two decades of the 21st century. That game illustrates the concerns in over interpreting one game. Sometimes a guy has just a great day in an otherwise sea of meh. I call those games “blips.”

However, while we should be cautious to read much into one game for fear of overvaluing a blip, it is also important to remember an upward trend always starts with one datapoint that’s a bit higher than what came before it. Fingers crossed that Becton’s preseason is the first datapoint in a positive trend rather than a blip on his career trajectory to date.