Jets behemoth Becton emerging as 'one of NFL's best' offensive linemen


MetLife Stadium is quickly becoming the house of pancakes.

The Jets' offense, saddled by unimaginative playcalling and a lack of playmakers, has been sluggish at best in what has been a very rough start to the season. But rookie offensive tackle Mekhi Becton, the No. 11 pick overall in April's draft, appears to be adapting quickly to the pro level -- and even excelling.

The hulking left tackle's bruising pancake blocks -- when a defender ends up on his back -- have been a hit with game-tape junkies and social media users, and advanced metrics seem to support what the video mavens are raving about.

Against the 49ers in Week 2, the 364-pound Becton unleashed a handful of crushing pancakes, some even coming in matchups against stud end Nick Bosa and fellow first-round Javon Kinlaw, a massive defensive tackle. NFL analyst Brian Baldinger was one of many football observers floored by the display. The former Cowboys and Eagles offensive lineman posted a video with a series of plays from the Niners-Jets game with commentary on Becton.

"Look at this hole that Mekhi Becton creates right here," Baldinger says. "Look at that thing. It's a gorge, not a hole. He's Highway 77. Just run your offense right behind No. 77.

"People just hit the ground when Becton hits them."

On this play, Becton moves a linebacker nearly 10 years into the defensive backfield before driving him into the turf on his back:

Former Jet Damien Woody said Becton was more than just one of the league's best rookies.

Becton's strong performance against an injury-riddled but tough Niners defense came on the heels of a similarly encouraging outing in his professional debut against the Buffalo Bills and defensive end Jerry Hughes in Week 1.

Jets coaches haven't been shy about the impression Becton has made so far, which they say is especially impressive given the steeper learning curve for rookies this season without the usual training camp or preseason.

“I really think a lot of it has to do with his preparation coming into the season, not only physically, but he must have studied a lot,” coach Adam Gase said. “Since he’s been here, since we started that first time .. he’s been all over it. He was executing things that I was really surprised about.

“I mean, he got it pretty quick.”

Asked about the pancake blocks, Becton says it "feels great" to manhandle an opposing player, but mostly he's just pleased to have executed his responsibilities.

“I did my job on that play," Becton said. "It’s on to the next play. I try to do that every play. It feels real good to have a man on the ground every play. That’s my mindset.”

The stats suggest Becton is doing his job superlatively through his first two games. The Louisville product is the top-rated rookie offensive tackle by Pro Football Focus, whose propriety performance metric weighs outcomes like pressures and sacks allowed on pass plays, and yardage gained on run plays.

Some Jets fans had doubts about Becton when Jets general manager Joe Douglas drafted him over playmakers such as Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, and Henry Ruggs. But presumably Becton -- Douglas' first pick as Jets GM -- is making them forget all about what could have been.