OT Menelik Watson- Florida State
Summary: Watson is a great athlete, which normally is an overrated quality to have in the NFL. People claim that players are freak athletes and they end up being below average. What separates Watson from those other players is that he is also a great offensive tackle. He was a right tackle in college and lead the way for EJ Manuel and the Florida state offense which was also in the top tier for rushing offense. Why many consider him a good athlete, independent of his play at FSU, is his versatility. He is a former basketball player, which contributes to his uncanny speed and agility for a 6-5, 310 pound offensive lineman. The reason why I consider him underrated is his pass blocking, which makes some sense. He is a great up the field blocker who can keep up with linebackers but struggles when trying to fend off big defensive tackles for long stretches. But he definitely has the size and potential to correct his pass blocking. He is not as risky as the experts make him out to be and has definitely proven himself good enough to be a day one starter.
NFL Transition: Watson would probably be best in a west coast offense or an offense that focuses on the run game more than 5 step drop back throws. He is probably the best in his class in either of those two offenses and his monster size and agility will allow him to blossom in the NFL. Plying with EJ Manuel will also help him transition into the NFL if he plays for teams with dual threat quarterbacks.
NFL Comparison: D’Brickashaw Ferguson
Ferguson is the great offensive tackle for the Jets who is the best run blocker in the NFL. His size and agility are similar to Watson. Watson can use Ferguson as a model for how to improve on pass blocking, as that was also Ferguson’s weakness when he was drafted. Watson also would function well in the Jets offense which relies heavily on the run and has allowed Ferguson to become an all pro NFL player.
NFL Dream Team: New York Jets
As I eluded to before, the Jets would be a great fit for Watson. First, the Jets have a major need at right tackle which is where Watson would be best suited at. Playing with that great offensive line with Ferguson and Mangold would take some of the pressure off of Watson who could work to improve his pass blocking. Meanwhile, that offense would greatly benefit from Watson’s tremendous agility and run blocking ability, especially with new offense coordinator Marty Morningweg. The Jets just edged out some other teams as a good fit for Watson also due to the fact that Watson needs an experienced right tackle to compete against. The Jets tendered Austin Howard who, although was really bad last year, was also extremely inexperienced and thrown into a mess. If Watson ends up being more of a project player as the experts are calling him, Howard could fill in who has a year under his belt and a new offensive coordinator (much better than Sparano) to help him. Watson would be a great fit for the Jets and would solidify the offensive line and allow them to return to a playoff team.