New York Jets offensive tackle Mekhi Becton joined his teammates Tuesday for the start of the mandatory minicamp after skipping the voluntary offseason program.
Becton missed most of his second season in the NFL after dislocation of his right patella and sprained the MCL in the season opener against Carolina in September.
The 2020 No. 11 overall pick has been training alone in the Dallas area while keeping in touch with the team. Becton’s fiancée also recently gave birth to the couple’s first child.
Coach Robert Saleh said last week that he expected every player on the squad to be present for the mandatory minicamp, so Becton’s attendance was no surprise.
“Man, it feels good to be back with my brothers”, Becton wrote on Twitter After practice. “But damn, I miss my family.”
Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur said Becton is “looking good,” but added the 6-foot-7, 363-pound lineman will be working with Jets coaches during minicamp workouts. team Tuesday and Wednesday. He exercised and ran slightly sideways without a knee brace or sleeve – a positive sign.
“It was good to see him and I know he’s going through his process,” LaFleur said.
Because it was Becton’s first time at the facility in a few months, he left, well, a big first impression on some of his new teammates.
“I didn’t realize how big he was in person,” said running back Breece Hall, a second-round pick in April. “He’s a big guy. I’m happy to run behind him.
After Becton was injured last season against the Panthers, George Fant switched from right tackle to Becton’s left tackle and performed well. The Jets expect the two to compete for the left tackle position during training camp – with the other likely playing right tackle.
Fant is also recovering from knee surgery in the offseason, but is expected to be fully recovered in time for training camp in late July. He and Becton were part of a group of players, including defensive end Carl Lawson and tight end CJ Uzomah, working in the coaches’ area at the start of practice.
Becton has only played left tackle in the NFL, but his athleticism and size have led the Jets to believe he can be successful either way.
“He’s a very tall man who is difficult to run in the passing game and then to be such a tall man he has a great first step to reach players and move them in the running game,” said TheFlower. “Our plan or any other plan, he has the talent. … The thing for Mekhi is that he just puts himself in the best situation for him in the future.
Rookie cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner has worn No. 1 since high school and has paid big bucks to carry on that tradition in the NFL.
Gardner struck a $50,000 deal with fellow cornerback DJ Reed to get the No. 1 jersey — which Reed chose to wear with the Jets after signing as a free agent in March.
“I’ve seen tweets where someone said like 250 (thousand) dollars,” Gardner said. “It wasn’t close to that.”
Reed, who wore No. 2 last season with Seattle, now wears No. 4 — the jersey number given to Gardner after he was drafted as the fourth overall pick in April at Cincinnati.
“When I got the nickname ‘Sauce’, I had number 1,” Gardner said. “I just feel like it’s fine with me.”
Denzel Mims enters his third season with an uncertain role, but seems to have put last season’s struggles behind him.
LaFleur praised the wide receiver, who had just eight catches for 133 yards in 11 games last season following an offseason bout with food poisoning, a difficult recovery from COVID-19 during of the season and stubborn injuries.
“He’s in the best shape I’ve ever seen, and his teammates have ever seen him,” LaFleur said. “So it’s been really cool. He’s gone to work this offseason, he’s done his body well.
Mims, a second-rounder in 2020, has just 31 career catches in 20 games without a touchdown. He’s behind Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, rookie Garrett Wilson, Braxton Berrios and maybe even Jeff Smith on the depth chart. But LaFleur sees a difference in the Mims off the field.
“I love the energy with which he is approached in boardrooms every day,” LaFleur said. “He’s a lot more confident attacking to the point that we can be in the boardrooms and he’s going to talk, give his answers, and stuff like that. It was cool. He puts himself in the best situation for him. -even to succeed as much as possible.
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