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,
Mekhi Becton vs Tampa Bay:— PFF (@PFF) August 21, 2023
✈️ 85.0 PFF Grade
✈️ 90.2 Run Blocking Grade
✈️ Zero pressures allowed pic.twitter.com/VvUyE7bI86
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.)
Mekhi Becton is already proving how big of an impact he can make for the #Jets.— Michael Nania (@Michael_Nania) August 21, 2023
Jets RBs this preseason:
w/ Becton off the field: 48 carries for 133 yds (2.77 YPC)
w/ Becton on the field: 22 carries for 116 yds (5.27 YPC)
Run game is nearly 2x as effective with 77 out there.
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.