Every college football coach has an interest in making sure their players are drafted as high as possible, but Florida St. Seminoles' offensive line coach Rick Trickett has more than the standard praise for Menelik Watson, reports Les Carpenter. Of the 6'5, 310-pound right tackle, Trickett says:
"He's a top five talent in the draft. He's not going to be picked in the top five because he just hasn't played enough. If this kid had played high school ball and then two or three years of college it wouldn't be a contest."
The Manchester, England born Watson isn't in any danger of being forgotten in the draft. On the contrary, he's routinely projected as a first-round pick. St. Louis Rams blog Turf Show Times took a good look at Watson after several mock drafts showed the Rams taking Watson with the 16th overall pick. That's not a unanimous view, as SB Nation's latest mock draft does not include Watson in the first round.
Watson may have great size and astounding athleticism, but those aren't his only assets. Perhaps looking to reassure teams critical of Watson's limited experience, Trickett says that early on he saw the prospect "[do] things you couldn't coach," adding that "he just has instincts." Watson played one year at FSU as a JUCO transfer, converting to football after a college basketball career didn't seem to be going anywhere.
Watson will be 25 in his rookie season, and despite his instincts and natural ability, he's likely to need a lot of coaching before he's playing at an NFL level. Whether it's the Rams or someone else, whoever ends up taking him in the draft will have a player with immense potential but no small amount of risk.