Ht: 6’6 Wt: 320
- Carries his weight well. At 320lbs, player has a well-built frame. Clearly works in the weight room.
- Shows the necessary athleticism to get to the 2nd level in the run game. One of the fastest (linear speed) linemen in the 2013 Draft (on film).
- Adequate to plus strength for the position. Can lock onto defender and drive the bus (when applying proper technique). Virtually stonewalls bull rush in pass protection.
- Plus footwork in pass protection. Showcases ability to shuffle and slide as well as mirror edge rushers.
- Plus athletic ability to reach and seal on the edge and to seal LBs on second level. Very coordinated and balanced.
- Displays ability to sit in stance and anchor well vs. bull rush. Needs to become more consistent at LOS, both in stance and get-off at snap of ball.
- Scheme diverse. Projects as an equally effective ZBS prospect.
- Can be slow to move off the snap of the ball which causes him to be vulnerable to speed rusher on edge.
- Relatively inexperienced after playing only two seasons of American football (born in Manchester, England). Only one year of major college football (JUCO level in 2011).
- Can be inconsistent with technique. When technique is off (hand-placement, especially) he tends to throw his body in the direction of the defender.
- Lack of experience results in some poor angles on second level.
- Struggles, at times, to diagnose assignment on blitz. Needs to improve overall football IQ.
Born and raised in Manchester, England, Watson is a former college basketball player who began playing football in 2011. After finishing his collegiate basketball career at Marist, Watson transferred to Saddleback College where he quickly established himself as one of the top JUCO prospects in the Country. Watson began his Florida State career in 2012 and started every contest at right tackle. It should be noted that Watson will enter the NFL as a 24-yr-old rookie. He will turn 25 in December of his rookie season.
Menelik Watson is one of the most physically gifted players in the entire 2013 NFL Draft. Watson is a big, well-built prospect who’s 6’6, 320lb frame is thick but not fat. He has good muscularity, suggesting that he works hard in the weight room. His weight is well-distributed throughout his body, complimented by a thick and powerful lower-half.
Watson is a plus athlete for the tackle position. His film displays rare linear speed for an offensive lineman, with the ability to jump out and on top of a linebacker on the second level. While his inexperience causes him to take poor angles at times, his overall athletic ability is exciting. In addition to Watson’s plus athleticism in the run game, he displays the necessary coordination and agility needed in pass protection. Watson slides and shuffles his feet well and has little trouble mirroring oncoming pass rushers. That said, he needs to improve on his timing off the snap of the ball. On many occasions, Watson is one of the last linemen to move at the snap, leaving him vulnerable in pass protection. He’s big, strong and long enough to recover now, but he must become more explosive at the snap to project to the left side in the NFL.
Watson is plenty strong enough to compete and win at the NFL level. He uses his overall size to his advantage, often-times locking on to the defender and controlling the action. He will have to clean up his technique, however, as he can be inconsistent sitting in his stance and anchoring down in pass protection. He has the potential to pack one of the better punches in this Draft class, but he needs to display it on a more consistent basis. When Watson’s technique is on, there are few linemen available in 2013 that will be a more effective in-line blocker.
Watson is scheme diverse. He is a plus athlete that will be equally effective in a ZBS. Watson’s film showcases a plus ability to reach and seal, both on the edge as well as on the second level vs. LBs. If selected by a team that incorporates the ZBS, Watson will have to be coached up on the angles he takes and his overall ability to finish a block in space. That said, he is a rare 320lb player that can move with light and nimble feet.
Menelik Watson’s collegiate career has largely been on the right side of the offensive line. And while he is an inexperienced player, his athletic ability suggests that he will be able to play on the left side in the NFL. In fact, had Watson returned for his Senior season at Florida State, we might be talking about one of the first 10 players off the board. There is very little separating Lane Johnson (Oklahoma) and Menelik Watson other than experience at left tackle. Watson is a legitimate first round talent, and a player that could emerge as one of the best in this year’s Class.
GRADE: 8.2 (see grading scale)
PROJECTED ROUND: 1st Round Selection