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Road to the Draft: Menelik Watson

By Jay Skurski

Menelik Watson

Position: Offensive tackle
Florida State
6-foot-5, 310 pounds
40 time:
5.29 seconds Vertical: 24.5 inches 3-cone drill: 8.31 seconds
Draft projection:
First-second round

Lowdown: Has only one season of major-college football, but has great size and athleticism. Shows good quickness, mobility and range. … Has long arms (34 inches), which he locks onto defenders. … Gets down the field quickly to the second level.

The aforementioned one season of major-college football means Watson is awfully raw. He has just 20 games of experience at any level. … Does not get off the snap well. … Slow to pick up on his assignments. Will be 25 in his first season, which is older than ideal for a rookie. … Gets sloppy with his hand placement, which can lead to holding penalties.

Path to the NFL is as interesting as any prospect in the ’13 class. Grew up in Manchester, England. Was raised by a single mother with three other children, and the family had significant financial struggles. … Played soccer, rugby and basketball as a kid. … Came to the United States to play basketball at Marist, but lasted only one season. Watson took up boxing after that, before going to Saddleback Junior College in 2011, where he played football for the first time at 23. In just one season there, he became a major-college recruit. Chose Florida State in January 2012 and gave up just one sack at right tackle for the Seminoles. Declared for the draft a year early to help support his family.

He said it: "I love to study, I love to learn new things. It's dedication. I haven't been to a club or a bar in two years. I've been dedicated to football 100 percent. That's part of the reason I decided to come out, too. So I could dedicate every single minute of every day to football."

The Buffalo News is profiling 50 prospects in 50 days leading up to next month's NFL Draft.


2013 draft | Road to the Draft
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |