It’s become a familiar sight on game days.
Mekhi Becton, lumbering laterally and stumbling off balance as pass rusher beat him around the edge.
Today, Becton leads the league among tackles in sacks surrendered.
His run block grade, which ranked among the league’s best during his first 18 starts in the league, has torpedo’d to 49th among tackles who’ve played at least 50 percent of the snaps for a team in 2023.
And the worst part isn’t that Becton is likely will make his final appearance in green and white next week in the regular season finale.
It’s that it never should’ve ended this way.
The Mekhi Becton story is a tragic tale of an ultra-talented athlete.
And a wasted opportunity that’s as big as the shadow every Sunday he casts on MetLife’s turf.
Sure Joe Douglas has made some mistakes as a general manager.
But he’s not to blame for the box office flop that has become the “Big Ticket.”
No, Becton did that all on his own.
It was Becton who hit cruise control after a successful but injury riddled rookie year.
When he showed up at mini-camp weighing well over 380 pounds, the team made it clear they weren’t happy.
He insisted he was fine.
“I honestly don’t know (my weight),” he told media during a camp press conference entering his second year.
Then he got hurt on game 1 of the 2021 season, when the team needed him to protect then-rookie Zach Wilson’s blindside.
The following year, despite indications the team wanted Becton rehabbing at the team facility, he did it his way, with trainer Duke Manyweather.
Rehab moved slowly.
As it turned out, he’d miss the 2022 season, too.
After two full seasons off the field, it should come as no surprise that Becton would struggle reacclimating himself to the NFL grind.
But Becton’s body seems to have betrayed him.
And the quiet chatter that frustrated the Jets heading into his second season – he takes plays off, he leans on his size and ‘God-given ability – has become a weekly roar.
While Becton has been one of the few linemen who’ve been regulars in the starting lineup this season, the tape shows a tackle who appears to be going through the motions on Sundays.
And for the Jets and Becton himself, that’s a shame.