May 20, 2013; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders tackle Menelik Watson (71) at organized team activities at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Gabe Jackson and Menelik Watson could be Raiders future in the trenches
2014 third round draft pick Gabe Jackson and 2013 second round draft pick Menelik Watson both were given spots with the first team offensive line during minicamp, putting the young pair in line to take starting jobs if all continues to go well on the road to Week One of the 2014 regular season.
Watson has been impressing at the right tackle position, returning after spending most of his rookie season on the inactive list as the Florida State Seminoles prospect didn’t give his fanbase back in England much to cheer about as the intriguing Manchester born Watson didn’t have much opportunity to show off his high upside that brought him to Oakland as a second round pick.
Jackson’s inclusion into first team reps may have came as more of a surprise as he is a third round rookie draft pick coming into his first minicamp, but those who follow SEC football know Jackson quite well as a four year starter at Mississippi State where he made a name for himself as a run blocking specialist. That ability was elite enough in the SEC that it is likely that Jackson can produce right away as a guard and fill in for the much maligned Lucas Nix who is now on the injured list with a surgery on his knee.
Under the guidance of offensive line coach Tony Sparano there is a good possibility that Jackson and Watson could impress those around the league next season. First they will need to earn their starting jobs and stay healthy, something that wasn’t easy for Watson last season. For the future of the franchise, it would be great to get to see the promising linemen duo on the field as much as possible in 2014.