As we head toward the NFL Draft in April, Warchant will take a look at the notable seniors (or draft-declared underclassmen) who train their eye toward the professional ranks. As the process moves along, these stock reports will feature updates. Next up in this series, Menelik Watson
Position: Offensive Tackle
Weight: 320 pounds
2012 Stats: Started 12 games at right tackle
Career Stats: Played just 20 games including JUCO and FSU
NFL Draft projections: CBS NFL Draft Scout - No. 77 player overall, No. 10 OT, Round 2-3. ESPN - No grade.
Watson's decision to go pro is the most surprising loss for Florida State. The junior from Manchester, England played in just 12 games this season, to bring his career total to 20. Watson, a former boxer and Division I basketball player for Marist College, didn't start playing football until his sophomore season at Saddleback College (Calif.).
Watson certainly showed plenty of potential this season, and with a tough upbringing he felt it was best to enter the draft despite the chance his stock could soar after another season in Tallahassee. Perhaps the best illustration of just how valuable Watson was to FSU this season is how it performed without him. Watson didn't start against N.C. State or Wake Forrest as he dealt with an ankle injury. In those two games FSU allowed seven sacks. Watson isn't on a lot of mock draft radars just yet, but NFLDraftScout.net has him rated as the 10th-best tackle and a second to third round pick. Watson was told by the NFL Draft Committee that he received a second-round grade when he made the decision to forgo his senior year.
Watson is freakishly-athletic, and not just for someone his size. The 6-foot-6, 320-pound tackle has been clocked in the 4.7 range in the 40-yard dash. He won the starting right tackle job, despite not having the advantage of spring practice like the rest of the candidates. With his frame and strength Watson is the ideal NFL tackle.
Watson is still an extremely raw player. As we mentioned earlier he played in just eight junior college games before starting 12 games for Florida State this season. With not a lot of film for teams to look at it, Watson's stock could dip some despite his extreme athleticism.
Where does he fit in the NFL?
Watson has played only right tackle in his career (at both JUCO and FSU), so that would be the likely fit for him. But with his athleticism there is a distinct possibility that teams could see him as a left tackle as well.
Over the next three months, he'll look to show/improve
Watson's biggest tests leading up to the draft will come on the whiteboard. With so few games under his belt, Watson will have to prove an understanding of the game to scouts and coaches. He will be able to help himself the most in interviews if he is able to show that he is more than just an athletic project for offensive line coaches.
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