For a hint of how mature Jets rookie tackle Mekhi Becton is, you could watch his eight-minute interview with Jets reporters on Microsoft Teams today. When one reporter 4½ minutes in started talking but no sound came out, the huge young man from Highland Springs, VA, could've silently waited for the reporter to figure things out, or he could've said something like, "I can't hear you, kind sir."
Instead, Mekhi waited a second or two, noticed the issue, and told the reporter simply, accurately and with a veteran's been-there-done-that confidence: "You're muted."
Becton's been kind of the same way on the field through the Jets' first four training camp practices. He has a rookie's eagerness to get his career rolling and to get thudding and thumping with his new linemates, teammates and team.
"It's been great," he said of his first pro practices of any kind since all NFL teams spent the spring conducting virtual offseason programs. "I've been picking up the playbook faster since we're on the field now. And I've been able to hit people. I haven't been able to hit a person in a while, so it's been great."
Such as at Monday's fieldhouse session, when he applied his first pancake as a pro to LB Neville Hewitt.
"It felt good, that's what I would say," the 6'7" Becton said of the block. "It felt really good because I haven't been able to do that in a while."
He may be a young man of relatively few words, but the 11th overall pick of the April draft has come to the Jets with a great number of good habits, as O-line coach Frank Pollack noticed.
"He's coming along really good," Pollack said today. "In the spring, he was in a good spot as far as understanding what we're doing. And he's hit the ground running since he's been here. Every time I've got a question for him in front of the guys, he's hitting it out of the park, he's right on top of it. And if he doesn't know the answer, it's a five-second pause, turn the page and go right to the notes where he wrote it down."
However, Becton knows he's still a work in progress, not yet a self-made man. For starters, he's intent not on growing his size but in reducing his weight to a certain sweet spot.
"I'm 370 now," he said. "I definitely want to get lower. I'm definitely going to work on getting lower."
"Mass times acceleration equals force," said Pollack, shifting his delivery from football coach to physics professor. "You need a guy that can play with speed and [knee]bend, and at what point does he start to lose his ability to bend and to move with speed and he's not creating force. ... Is 370 too high? Yeah. Is there a magic number? We're working on that. He's a young guy, his body is going to mature and change over time.
"Bottom line, it's production on the field and what's healthiest for him as well. And right now we're all trying to get to that exact number. But he's being productive as well."
Then Becton stresses that while he's on top of his assignments, he has plenty of work to do on his technique. Yet he seems to know what he doesn't know, and knows how to get it.
"Trying to get my technique down pat, learning different techniques, different things to do. That's the hardest thing, trying to learn my technique," he said. "My technique has got to be good. I'm in the league now, not in college no more. So I know my technique has to be perfect in order for me to win."
Becton, from his mature responses, gives every impression "the league" is not too big for him and he intends to win. And Pollack thinks his mature student is off to a good start.
"He's got a great personality and he's a lot of fun to talk to and to coach," Pollack said. "Now it's just him getting experience and reps out on the grass. He continues to see a lot of different things and to grow from that standpoint. And against our defense, he's getting a variety of looks and a lot of teachable moments. He's done a really good job."