A 12-year veteran that played every offensive line in the league, NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger loves to analyze line play after each week. And one lineman that he said he’ll be watching for the rest of the year is Jets’ first-round pick Mekhi Becton.
The Jets, overall, have been terrible. They haven’t been able to remain even competitive in their first two games against the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers. But as Baldinger breaks down in Week 2, the Jets seem to have gotten their first-round pick right.
“The Jets have been a disappointing team but Mekhi Becton in two games, who has played every snap is quickly establishing himself as the best player on the team. Not just that but he’s the best rookie in the league after two weeks," Baldinger said in his latest 'Baldy Breakdown.'
Becton’s NFL debut saw some good skill work and some bad, as SNY contributor Bent broke down thoroughly last week. Baldinger, though, couldn’t really find anything wrong in his nearly six-minute breakdown of Becton’s play against a tough 49ers defensive front.
It starts with Becton going up against Nick Bosa, a matchup that unfortunately was only seen for a few plays before he went down with what came to be a torn ACL. Becton didn’t have any qualms against the Pro Bowl end when he was rushing.
As you can tell from the first play of the video, Baldinger discusses Becton’s ability to adjust to Bosa trying an inside move and using his strength and length to have him not even break the line of scrimmage. A couple of plays later, Bosa tries that inside move again and he finds a little success by getting passed Becton’s initial punch. But a quick adjustment has Becton using brute strength to throw Bosa into the rest of his lineman, taking him out of the play.
That’s only pass protection, though. Becton’s finest moments on Sunday came in the run game.
Using his 6-oot-7, 364-pound frame you can see Becton handling the rush with what looks to be relative ease. At the 1:46 mark, Javon Kinlaw, the Niners’ first-round pick who is 6-foot-5, 311 pounds, was cleared away to form a “gorge” as Baldinger put it on the left side of the line. But Frank Gore ran the ball up the middle for just a two-yard gain. That obviously can’t happen when Becton made such a large space to work with.
Fast forward to 2:38 and you’ll see Becton absolutely pancake the edge rusher Kerry Hyder Jr., and finish the block by keeping him pinned on the ground.
“Just take your offense and run it behind Highway 77,” Baldinger said, referencing Becton’s jersey number.
The rest of the line hasn’t been as sturdy as Becton, and receivers still have to get open. But as Baldinger says, head coach Adam Gase might want to design more run plays to the left side if Becton is playing the way he has been.
“Mekhi Becton is the Jets best football player. Become a left-handed team and just run behind this guy,” Baldinger said.