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Jets Training Camp Preview | OL Mekhi Becton, George Fant Battling at Left Tackle

Joe Douglas Added Pro Bowl LG Laken Tomlinson; Alijah Vera-Tucker Moved to Right Side


What's New
To no one's surprise, GM Joe Douglas added another offensive lineman in free agency in Pro Bowl LG Laken Tomlinson after five seasons with San Francisco. Tomlinson (6-3, 315) has played in 80 of the 49ers' 81 games since he joined the team in 2017 -- he missed Week 1 that season. He adds nastiness and championship caliber to an already-impressive line.

"Seeing all the familiar faces of the coaching staff, the transition is going a lot better than I thought it would," Tomlinson said in the spring. "Spending time around the guys and building that chemistry, it's going as well as it could. It's really good to be able to come out here and work with the guys and just show them everything I can do for the team."

With Tomlinson's addition, second-year OL Alijah Vera-Tucker is moving from left guard to right guard. Vera-Tucker, the No. 14 overall selection in 2021 out of USC, did not hesitate moving to RG when Douglas told him about the signing of Tomlinson. Moving to the right side is not unfamiliar for AVT -- he played there in college for one season.

"It's just a matter of footwork and being able to switch plays in your head," he said. "Once I get it down it will take a couple of weeks, but I'm getting more comfortable about this. This is not like going from guard to tackle, it's not a big deal for me and I didn't treat it that way."

Players to Watch
It has to be Mekhi Becton, whom Robert Saleh said can be "transcendent." Becton was slated to start at LT in 2021 after starting 13 games protecting the blindside as a rookie in 2020. His sophomore season, however, was ended by a knee injury at Carolina in the opener. Since, his weight has been a big media topic, but Becton was satisfied the number (undisclosed) in the spring when he reported for minicamp.

The No. 11 overall pick in 2020, a new father, expects to be ready once training camp opens. He told reporters he's feels like he's been written off and is going to "make them eat their words."

See the top photos of the Jets OL leading up to training camp.

Key Questions
The biggest question -- perhaps among all positions entering training camp -- is who will win the job at left tackle … Becton or Fant?

Fant, who took 689 snaps at RT and 139 at LT in 2020, started a career-high 15 games at left tackle once Becton went down. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed only a single sack in 594 pass-blocking snaps and had a pass-blocking efficiency number of 98.3. He had the third-lowest pressure rate (3.03%) among left tackles behind Tyron Smith (2.39%) and Andrew Whitworth (2.5%).

The good news for the Jets is that Becton and Fant have experience at both tackle positions. But how will they make sure both of them are ready for where they're assigned? 

"You're going to mix and match that and we'll work that out as a staff," OC Mike LaFleur said. "I'm not going to give it too much in the particulars on how that's going to go, but we have a plan as a staff right now. Saleh may not give more info on that, but we feel confident in what we're going to do at the tackle position and again all those other positions."

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