After 14 games this season, Jets' LT Mekhi Becton emerged as one of the top run blockers in the league and earned the second-highest grade from Pro Football Focus among tackles in his draft class, behind Tampa Bay's Tristan Wirfs. Before the start of his rookie season, Becton said he always believed in his ability but knew he had to prove himself on the field.
"It didn't put pressure on me, it's something I'm used to," Becton said. "People have always talked to me and tried to tell me I can't do this or can't do that. It just added fuel to the fire, so that's what I went out and did this year. I always grew up with a chip on my shoulder, I've always been doubted."
Those doubts didn'tget in the way of Becton performing at a high level. With his dominant run blocking on full display and better pass protection, Becton's play was noticed throughout the league. Drafted No. 11 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, he started in 13 games and played in 691 snaps (69.9%), and was in the mix for selection to the Pro Bowl.
Now, his focus has shifted training during his first professional offseason.
"I played really physical this year, I played good but not great," Becton said. "There's a lot of things I can fix and I'm going to focus on that this offseason. This offseason I'm going to mainly focus on my footwork and my hand placement. I got a lot better with my hand placement over time, but there's a lot of things I can fix with that."
Becton heads into 2021 as an important foundational piece in the offensive line GM Joe Douglas is committed to building. At 6-7 and 363 pounds, the 21-year-old has already been tagged with a slew of nicknames, including Highway 77, Route 77 and Mount Becton, for his quickness and impressive pancake blocks. Some of his best efforts came in Week 13 against the Raiders when the Jets ran for a season-high 206 yards — the most since 2018 — and 125 came running behind Becton.
"I want to learn the game more," Becton said. "I want to learn the different positions on defense, so I know what they're going to do. I want my opponents to know that I know."