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By: Billy Riccette
The two ends of the offensive line — Billy Turner and Max Mitchell — have been underwhelming throughout camp and have raised questions about whether the unit will hamper the progress of the offense and ultimately the amount of success the Jets can have this season. The possibility even started coming up that right guard Alijah Vera-Tucker could move out to right tackle to try and solve the problem.
But maybe the Jets won’t have to move Vera-Tucker after all. That’s because Mekhi Becton is starting to gain confidence again in himself and in the team that he can hold down the fort at the tackle position. He played about 25 offensive snaps Saturday against the Carolina Panthers as he continues to get more needed reps as well as continuing to feel better about playing on his knee. That’s about triple the number of snaps he saw in the Hall of Fame Game against the Cleveland Browns.
And just like against the Browns, Becton had another very fine performance against the Panthers, showing strength against the run and the pass. This all comes in the midst of Becton being seen as a potential trade candidate when the Jets ultimately trim the roster down to 53 players. Part of that is the number of tackles the Jets are currently carrying and that could make the 53.
Duane Brown, who is still on the physically unable to perform list, is expected to return to the left tackle position when he comes off the list and can practice again. Turner and Mitchell, despite struggling in camp, may both still make the roster for depth and the Jets just drafted Carter Warren in the fourth round in April and see potential in him, so he isn’t going anywhere.
If the Jets keep Becton, they could potentially be keeping ten offensive linemen. But given the current situation, that may not necessarily be a bad thing. With the potential this offense has, the Jets don’t want to run into a situation like last season where injuries derailed the season. They could use all the help they can get. That includes Becton, who may even be climbing back into consideration for a starting job.
If he can, that would also keep Vera-Tucker at guard and that’s a win all around for the Jets. No disrespect to Wes Schweitzer, but if the Jets can keep Vera-Tucker at guard and have someone reliable at tackle, that’s a better combination than Schweitzer and Vera-Tucker up front. AVT would thrive either way, but the ideal scenario right now is for him to stay at guard.
The Jets have two preseason games left as well as joint practices this week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That still gives them time to sort out the offensive line questions. But after two solid preseason performances, it’s time to start getting Becton back in the conversation for a starting position. The key was always him getting confident in his knee again. So far, so good.
Originally posted on Jets Wire