- Paul Gutierrez, ESPN Staff Writer
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How acquired: Second-round draft pick (No. 42 overall) out of Florida State
2013 season: First Menelik Watson was going to play right tackle. Then he was moving to left tackle. Finally, he settled back on the right side. But not before a calf issue slowed his development in training camp. Then a minor knee surgery. Then, tha calf flared up again. And did we mention already that Watson was considered a project by many in that he had only really played a couple years of organized football? Yes, Watson was raw as a rookie and the Oakland Raiders reached. Recovering from the knee procedure, Watson was inactive the first seven games and made his debut in Week 9. There were flashes, which were limited due to his missing so much time with the injuries. Watson appeared in five games and started two, at right tackle against the New York Giants, and as an extra lineman at Houston. He missed the final two games, though.
Looking ahead: Big things are expected out of Watson by the Raiders in 2014 and, no doubt, on March 11, they hope he grabs the starting right tackle position and does not let go any time soon. Of course, that means Watson staying out of the trainer’s room, staying on the field and getting as much offseason work in as possible. “Menelik has to get his body right,” general manager Reggie McKenzie said after the season. “If we can keep him healthy, I’m looking forward to what he can do next season.”
The Raiders’ other 2013 rookies that finished the season on the roster: CB D.J. Hayden, DE Ryan Robinson, CB Chance Casey, S Shelton Johnson, WR Greg Jenkins, OG Lamar Mady, QB Matt McGloin,WR Brice Butler, DT Stacy McGee, TE Mychal Rivera, RB Latavius Murray, TE Nick Kasa and LB Sio Moore.