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Robert Saleh: Mekhi Becton needs to show he can play without needing to come out

Jets offensive tackle Mekhi Becton hasn’t shown the kind of consistency and reliability he needs for the Jets to believe they can count on him to be a starter.

That’s the word from Jets head coach Robert Saleh, who said Becton will continue working with the backups until he shows he’s in good enough health and good enough shape to play a full game.

“The biggest thing for Mekhi is to show that he can play a game without having to be spelled out,” Saleh said, via the New York Post. “It’s unfair to the team to prepare a guy to start if you are not sure he can make it through a game. He is moving in the right direction. I thought he had a big step against Carolina in that game.”

Jets left tackle Duane Brown has been out of camp with a shoulder injury, which could have been an opportunity for Becton to show what he can do, but instead Billy Turner and Max Mitchell have been the Jets’ starting tackles. Saleh said Becton does have a chance to start, but it would be at right tackle rather than left tackle, and only when he shows he can last a full game.

“As soon as the [coaching] staff, training staff and everyone feels comfortable that he’s able to show that and stack days up, definitely start rotating him to compete,” Saleh said. “I think he is realizing he loves the game of football and he wants to be out there. If part of our best-five [line] is him playing right tackle, I think he’s on board.”

The Jets took Becton with the 11th overall pick in 2020 and he started 13 games as a rookie, but he played in just one game in 2021 and missed the entire 2022 season. He’s running out of chances to show he doesn’t deserve to be labeled a bust.