With the possibility of three offensive tackles being selected very early, it’s clear the 2013 NFL Draft class does not have a ton of star power. Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson look certain to go off the board in the first 10 picks, or perhaps even sooner, which stands to leave teams that need an offensive tackle looking for upside after that point.
Menelik Watson played just one season at Florida State, but he is widely being projected as a first-round pick due to the pure physical talent he has. The Manchester, England native played basketball before taking up football at Saddleback (California) Junior College in 2011, and ultimately decided to play for the Seminoles in 2012 after drawing interest from multiple schools.
Watson played right tackle at Florida State, but he is virtually certain to move to the left side at the next level. Could he become the best offensive tackle to come out of this year’s draft? Let’s take a closer look.
Weight: 310 lbs.
– Is a physical specimen; looks the part
– Is very athletic; is a natural bender and has quick feet
– Is naturally strong; shows a powerful punch to put defenders on their heels
– Plays with good balance in pass protection; is able to recover well
– Has good straight-line speed; gets to the second level effectively
– Is slow off the ball at times; needs to improve his consistency off the snap
– Needs to improve his instincts and recognition
– Needs to improve his overall technique; hand usage needs work
– Struggles to play with good leverage
Watson’s physical attributes and raw upside will be hard for teams to ignore, and that also makes him one of the biggest risk-reward players this year regardless of position. One mock draft has Watson going to the San Diego Chargers at No.11 overall, but the New Orleans Saints (15th), New York Giants (19th), Chicago Bears (20th), Cincinnati Bengals (21st) and Green Bay Packers (26th) may all be looking to add an offensive tackle later in the first round. Simply put, if Watson falls to the second round he may quickly become the proverbial “best player available” for a lot of teams.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.