Given what he did — actually, what he did not do — all spring, it is not a surprise that mountainous Mekhi Becton will start training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
Becton is one of five Jets players who will start camp next week on PUP, joining offensive tackle George Fant — Becton’s competition at left tackle — defensive end Carl Lawson, tight end C.J. Uzomah and guard Dru Samia. The Jets also made official the signing of former Eagles cornerback Craig James and placed tackle Greg Senat on the reserve/non-football injury list.
Players on PUP can be activated at any time during camp. When Becton is cleared is sure to be a daily talking point for head coach Robert Saleh, who was peppered with Becton questions all spring.
Becton did not participate in any on-field work during the offseason workout program. He is dealing with weight and conditioning issues and the after-effects of a knee injury that kept him out of action for 16 games last season.
As the No. 11 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Becton showed great promise as a rookie, starting 13 games and emerging as a rising star at left tackle. His expanding weight and knee issue combined to make his 2021 season one to forget. He is expected to compete with Fant, a 30-year old veteran, for the starting left tackle spot, with whoever does not get the job moving over to right tackle.
On Thursday, Saleh sounded optimistic that Becton might be able to get on the field sometime soon.
“Mekhi’s been really good over the past 40 days,” Saleh said in an interview with CBS Sports HQ. “He’s been in the building every day. He’s been putting in the work. He’s got no restrictions from my understanding with regards to the knee. His weight’s getting down. He looks really good, and we’re really excited about the direction he’s heading.’’
Becton, Fant, Lawson and Uzomah are all expected to start for the Jets once they are healthy.