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Mekhi Becton's Dominant (If Brief) Performance Was Easily The Biggest Takeaway From The Hall of Fame Game

We all know preseason football means very little in the grand scheme of things — at least when it comes to the final score. Six teams posted perfect records in exhibition games last year, including the New York Jets. Every single one of them missed the playoffs. Browns fans should temper their excitement over Thursday's 21-16 win for sure.

Within these seemingly meaningless scenarios, though, it's impossible to ignore certain subplots about individual players. Mekhi Becton is someone who you can't miss in a very literal sense. This man came out of Louisville in 2020 at over 6-7 and 363 pounds at the Combine. There was not a more physically imposing offensive lineman in that class, and Becton's athleticism at his size was mind-boggling to behold.

I remember watching the draft with the infamous Basement Goodell hosting and couldn't believe the left tackle-needy Browns passed on Becton in favor of Jedrick Wills, who had to move from right to left tackle once he hit the NFL.

...Turns out, Cleveland might've made the right pick in that situation for once, in spite of the fact that Wills hasn't exactly set the world ablaze. Becton struggled with staying in football shape and let his weight continue to balloon. 

Heading into last night, the 24-year-old former 10th overall pick hadn't played since Week 1 of the 2021 regular season. All things considered, the far more svelte Becton put on a hell of a show. 

We could already see back in March evidence of all the hard work he'd done to rehab the knee injury he suffered in 2022's training camp:

And in case you haven't seen Becton's "BIG TICKET" chain before, please enjoy:

Dude has been carrying around that ice since his rookie season, which gives me faith that he has good judgement. The fact that the chain still looks big on that big of a man should give you a sense of scale.

OK so let's focus on the football angle of this dominant Becton seven-snap cameo from last night. Why does it matter? It's not like he was going against Myles Garrett, right? Well, sure. You'd ideally like to see Becton match up with the Browns' best to see where he's really at, but given his track record, Thursday's showing was about as well as Becton could've hoped to do.

This Becton rep in particular — a nice one for rookie center Joe Tippmann, too — is easy to overlook since Zach Wilson lofted up such a pretty deep ball to Malik Taylor for a 57-yard gain:

I'm bullish on the 2023 Jets. Not just because of Hard Knocks or because it behooves me as a de facto frequent Jets blogger for the team to do well. Realize that last season, Gang Green finished fourth in scoring defense and total yards allowed. That was with some of the shittiest quarterback play you'll ever see. Now they have one of the best to ever do it in Aaron Rodgers.

It'd be one thing if Rodgers was still showing off the malcontent, passive-aggressive, petty qualities he displayed especially toward the end of his time in Green Bay. Instead, he's exploding the cliché (for now) that old dogs can't learn new tricks. Rodgers has never been a better teammate to my knowledge. Rather than cold-shouldering and alienating younger players who can't pick up the offense quickly enough, he's a willing mentor by all accounts. He also did this:

For all the deserved optimism the Jets have earned this offseason with their audacious acquisition of Rodgers, the offensive tackle positions are a bit of a question mark. 

Duane Brown is penciled in on the left side. Accomplished as he is, Brown turns 38 later this month. Max Mitchell was a fourth-round pick in '22 and was hampered by injuries, appearing in only six games. Thanks to his shared time with Rodgers and new Jets OC Nathaniel Hackett, ex-Packer tackle Billy Turner is on a one-year deal. Turner has never been more than an average starter to my knowledge.

From what little I know about Turner, the unimpressive reps i've seen from Mitchell and the mileage on Brown's gridiron odometer, Mekhi Becton should have a real opportunity to start at either tackle spot for the Jets by the time they face Buffalo to kick off the 2023 campaign on Monday Night Football. Guess time will tell. 

Offensive line play isn't often the most enthralling aspect of watching any given football game. However, in lieu of much more meaning to the NFL preseason, Mekhi Becton's progress is definitely something to monitor. So far, so good.

Twitter @MattFitz_gerald/TikTok