The San Francisco Chronicle’s Vic Tafur expects second round pick Menelik Watson to start at right tackle for the Oakland Raiders. I stated previously when Watson was selected, that I fully expected Watson to start for the Raiders, and also that current RT Khalif Barnes will move to the interior guard position. Tafur also thinks the same.
Both of the guard positions are questionable for Oakland going into 2013. Currently, second-year player Tony Bergstrom is slated to start at LG and Mike Brisiel penciled in at the RG spot. With Brisiel a zone-type blocking guard, he doesn’t seem to fit in the soon-to-be power scheme. When you throw in his an atrocious 2012 season, it is likely for him to head to the bench.
In Bergstrom’s case, he at least deserves a chance to prove himself. He appeared in eight games last year, only starting one. Furthermore, fellow guard entering his sophomore season, Lucas Nix, could also earn a chance to earn first-string duties. In Pro Football Focus’ rating system, Bergstrom struggled in a few of his appearances, giving up one sack, two hits to the QB and two penalties.
Barnes moving to guard makes a lot of sense for Oakland. He has never been a consistent player for the Raiders, he seems to have an occasional good streak of one or two games, and then totally tanks for another few games. Last year in only nine starts, Barnes allowed four sacks and 18 QB hurries–that won’t do for a position as crucial as the tackle spot.
When you take to mind that Barnes has played guard for the Raiders in prior seasons, the move seems like a relatively simple one. Unless Barnes blows minds in training camp and Watson struggles mightily, expect Watson to be the teams RT and Barnes to head to the OG spot.