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Menelik Watson: FSU’s other European player with first-round talent

Menelik Watson AP

Fans who follow the NFL draft know about Florida State’s Bjoern Werner, the German-born defensive end who is viewed as one of the top defensive players in the draft. But many fans may not realize that there’s another European Seminole who could end up going in the first round.

Menelik Watson, a 6-foot-6, 320-pound offensive lineman from Manchester, England, only played one year at Florida State and originally came to the United States to play basketball at Marist College. But while Watson still has plenty to learn about American football, NFL Network’s Mike Mayock says Watson is such a natural left tackle that calling him a first-round talent isn’t a stretch.

“As you might expect for a kid from England who hasn’t played much football . . . he’s very raw,” Mayock said. “What great skill set he has. He’s got a first-round left tackle skill set. He’s got really good feet, long arms, he’s a natural pass protection guy.”

Watson told FOX Sports Florida in January that it took him a while to get what American football was all about, but once he gave it a try, he realized that offensive line play was perfectly suited for his athletic talents.

“Even when I was young, people used to always tell me, ‘When you go to America, people are going to make you play football,’” Watson said. “And I said, ‘I ain’t going to play football. I don’t like it.’ I was a rugby guy. At Marist, I used to go to the football games there, and I knew I could play the sport. I just needed the right coaching. . . . When I made the decision to switch over, I said, ‘I’m going to give it everything I’ve got,’ If it didn’t work out, it didn’t work out. If I came here and I couldn’t handle it, I tip my hat and say thank you and roll on. It’s all mental, really. If you tell yourself you’re going to do it, you’re going to do it. First day, it was faster and stuff, but you have to adjust.”

Watson will have more big adjustments ahead of him in the NFL. But there aren’t many more talented linemen in this year’s draft.

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5 Responses to “Menelik Watson: FSU’s other European player with first-round talent”
  1. logicalvoicesays says: Mar 18, 2013 7:30 PM

    RGIII, the best QB in professional Football, hails from Japan.

  2. randallflagg52 says: Mar 18, 2013 8:06 PM

    From watching a few games to reading about this guy I knew he was raw but talented, but I did not know he only played one season at Florida State. That’s crazy.

    Watson doesn’t seem like an Ozzie Newsome pick (too little experience), but I hope they take a risk on him at #32 or move into the second round to take him. The payoff would potentially be huge, and Oher has no business on the left side. Oher is a great right tackle, and he needs to stay there.

    I seem to recall another FSU tackle prospect lacking big time NCAA experience who went on to have a pretty decent career. His name: Walter Jones.

  3. itsnolen says: Mar 18, 2013 8:17 PM

    He has great feet, because he was a pretty good boxer in England, also. Imagine that guy hitting you…sheesh.

  4. dannymac17 says: Mar 18, 2013 8:23 PM

    this reminds me of when the Chargers reached and drafted a guy out of Canada who turned out to be no better than fodder

  5. malkinrulez says: Mar 18, 2013 8:56 PM

    If he had gone back and played another year at FSU he would have been a top 5 pick in next years draft

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