The Oakland Raiders drastically upgraded their roster over the off season while placing much of their focus on improving play in the trenches on both sides of the ball. When the 2014 season starts, the Raiders very well could have up to four new starters along the offensive line including two new starting tackles, one who is just beginning his career and one who is on the backside of his.
Donald Penn is a seven year veteran who has played in a pro bowl and been named to the NFL top 100 list. Menelik Watson, on the other hand, is a second year player whose rookie season was plagued with injury. But they both have something in common: they have a lot to prove. Penn wants to show he can still play and Watson wants to show he is an NFL talent who can excel at tackle.
And according to Penn, that’s just what Watson is.
Menelik Watson, he’s a tremendous athlete. My thing is, I don’t think Menelik knows how good he can be yet. I see a lot of potential in him. He has some great feet, which is important as a tackle. Menelik wants to be good.
Penn went on to say that Watson and Matt McCants were two guys he was trying to take under his wing. Said that both were picking his brain about how to play the position and that he was being sure to point out when they did well and when they did poorly.
If Penn is correct, it is great news for the Raiders. Watson, who only played two years of organized football before being drafted, was somewhat of a risk. But he was a risk with the potential to be great. A physical freak, Watson learned the game rather quickly and has excelled ever since putting the pads on. Now, it appears he is going to be able to make the leap to the next level and be a starting tackle in the NFL.
If he can stay healthy, that is.