“I have a feeling Duane’s going to be a hard out anyway,” Saleh said Tuesday when asked if the veteran could switch to right tackle this season.
When asked to elaborate, Saleh said, “he’s going to be hard to push out the door” at left tackle.
#Jets HC Robert Saleh was asked if it’s realistic that Duane Brown could play RT in 2023 considering he hasn’t played the position since college, ‘I have a feeling Duane will be a hard out’ [at left tackle] + @Connor_J_Hughes asked for clarity on that, ‘he’s going to be hard to… pic.twitter.com/yHIuiMXQsG
— Paul Andrew Esden Jr (@BoyGreen25) June 6, 2023
That certainly is not what Becton wants to hear. The massive (6-foot-7, 363 pounds) tackle was drafted in the first round in 2020 to be the starter on the left side. But he’s played only one game the past two seasons because of knee issues and has had problems staying in shape.
Becton appears to be in the best physical condition of his career and said recently, “this is the most excited I’ve ever been going into training camp.” However, he’s also not been shy about stating his preference to play left tackle and added that playing on the right side led to his season-ending injury in 2022.
Saleh said that the best five offensive lineman will start for the Jets. Brown and Becton are expected to be among the best five, though they will have competition from tackles Billy Hunter, Max Mitchell, Yodny Cajuste and Carter Warren. Alijah Vera-Tucker projects as a star at right guard but could be in the mix at tackle, as well. Veteran Connor McGovern is trying to hold off rookie Joe Tippmann for the starting spot at center.
“We’re just trying to sort it out,” Saleh said. “We’ll get to all of that as we go.”
Look at the blocking by Duane Brown on the Berrios TD. Old man can still move pic.twitter.com/P2P9A9LoVe
— Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt) October 16, 2022
Duane Brown has never played right tackle in NFL
Brown is a former All-Pro at left tackle and the veteran is a favorite of Saleh. He played 12 games with a torn rotator cuff last season, remaining in the lineup because so many other linemen, including Becton, were sidelined by injury.
The 37-year-old has played 215 NFL games, each at left tackle. Brown said last week he’s been “solidified (at left tackle) for a while.”
“He’s obviously very comfortable at that left tackle spot,” Saleh said. “He looks good (after surgery) … everything will be taken into consideration once we start to settle in which five are the five we’re going to roll into the season with.”
Brown and Becton will be happy to be among the five Jets starters but one won’t be happy at the position he’s playing.