NFL Draft: Raiders select Menelik Watson in 2nd round (42nd pick)
With the No. 42 overall pick in the second round, the Oakland Raiders selected offensive lineman Menelik Watson out of Florida State. While extremely raw, Watson has tremendous upside with his natural athleticism and stellar footwork.
Although Watson (6-5, 310) might be the most inexperienced player selected thus far, the Manchester, England native also has tremendous upside once he gets used to the nuances of the game. The former Marist basketball player has only two years of experience in organized football after leaving the Red Foxes in 2011 to enroll at Saddlebrook Community College (Calif.). After spending a year on the junior college level alongside fellow draft prospect Kyle Long, Watson started 12 games for the Seminoles in 2012.
Watson’s experience with the defensive slide on the hardwood and his brief foray as an amateur boxer helped him develop stellar footwork and quick lateral movement. On second-level runs, Watson can be menacing upwards of 10 yards downfield as his block against Florida safety Matt Elam on a first quarter run last November illustrates. Strong pass-protection by Watson also enabled EJ Manuel to remain in the pocket for more than five seconds on a play late in the second quarter, before the Seminoles’ quarterback scrambled up the middle for a 23-yard run. Watson did not surrender a sack against the Gators’ highly-ranked defense.
As Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com points out, Watson nearly has as much upside as Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson. Watson “possesses light feet, long arms, and natural overall weight distribution,” Rang writes. “He flashes great quickness and balance when dropping back into pass protection. (Watson is) naturally strong and has heavy hands to latch on and control opponents…He is blessed with the traits that will catch the imagination of NFL offensive line coaches for every team in the league.”
Watson averaged 4.7 points and 3.3 rebounds per game in 29 games during his one season at Marist.
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