September 29, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Rashad Greene (80) is congratulated by offensive linesman Menelik Watson (71) after they scored a touchdown against the South Florida Bulls during the first quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie Review: Get To Know Offensive Tackle Menelik Watson

Originally born in the United Kingdom, Menelik Watson entered the United States on a basketball scholarship to Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York.  He attended school and played basketball there from 2009 to 2010.  His mentor, Rob Orellana, saw a very good athlete in Watson, but it was apparent that he was too short to play power forward in basketball.

In 2011, Orellana transferred Watson to Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California.  There, he played American Football for the very first time in his life.  His size and raw talent earned him a spot at Right Tackle.  He played opposite Left Tackle Kyle Long (Howie Long’s son).

After just one year at Saddleback College, Watson transferred to Florida State University for the 2012 season.  He started 12 of 13 games at the Right Tackle position and allowed just one sack.  Not bad for a guy who was playing only his second year of football.

In 2013, Watson entered the NFL Draft.  He was selected by the Oakland Raiders in Round 2 (#42 overall).  This is a beast of a man at 6’ 6” tall and 320 pounds.  Coach Tony Sparano (Offensive Line Coach for the Oakland Raiders) was asked to describe Watson in one word.  Sparano simply said, “Strong.”

Khalif Barnes has been holding down the right tackle position for the Raiders since 2009, but Watson was brought in to compete for that exact spot.  With the additions of Jared Veldheer, Stefen Wisniewski, and Mike Brisiel, over the past couple years, it’s apparent the Raiders have been revamping the Offensive Line.  Let’s face it, without a core group of good Offensive Linemen, there is no running or passing game.

Watson will provide that right side strength that quarterbacks can count on to keep them safe from sacks.  He will give us a strong wall and allow Darren McFadden to get the edge.  Watson may be raw and have little experience playing football, but Tony Sparano is the right coach to show him the ropes.  With Sparano coaching him, I believe that Menelik Watson will be a great tackle and someone we can count on for this year and into the future.

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Tags: Darren McFadden Florida State University Howie Long Jared Veldheer Khalif Barnes Kyle Long Marist College Menelik Watson Mike Brisiel NFL Draft Oakland Raiders Rob Orellana Saddleback College Stefen Wisniewski Tony Sparano United Kingdom United States

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