With the No. 42 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft, the Oakland Raiders selected Florida State Seminoles offensive tackle Menelik Watson. Watson is the No. 54-rated player in the draft rankings from SB Nation's Dan Kadar and the fifth-ranked offensive tackle.
Watson, 24, is a native of Machester, England who wasn't introduced to football until after he arrived in America to play college basketball. After playing the sport for the first time at Saddleback College in California, he transferred to FSU in January 2012 and earned a spot in the team's starting lineup right away before foregoing his senior season with the Seminoles to enter the 2013 NFL Draft.
The Raiders allowed 27 quarterback sacks in 2012 and now with Matt Flynn under center, it's important for the Raiders to be able to protect him. Watson may start out as a right tackle, but he could eventually become a solid blind-side protector at left tackle. Either way, he'lll be an opening day starter.
In a prospect profile on SB Nation, the following were listed as positives for Watson:
Athleticism: Growing up playing basketball has turned Watson into a formidable force on the line, using keen footwork and skill learned in the post to provide strong protection on the right side. Watson was held responsible for just one sack in 2012. Conditioning: Also as a result of his basketball background and training, Watson has shown the ability to play all 60 minutes at full speed, despite a listed weight of 320 pounds. Speed: Watson reportedly clocks in the 4.7 range in the 40-yard dash, meaning he has strong leg drive and is able to move around to shadow rushers no matter their speed around the corner.
Watson is most commonly described as a "raw" prospect with plenty of upside. While he showed light feet, solid balance and good potential at Florida State, he was a disappointment at the 2013 NFL Combine, finishing with some of the worst numbers among offensive linemen.
Still, his explosive first step and balance were evident on film, leading many to believe he has as high a ceiling as any offensive tackle in the 2013 NFL Draft class.