Menelik Watson: Video Highlights for Former Florida State OT
With the 2013 NFL draft fast approaching, it's time for a deep dive into some of the top prospects.
Today, we'll profile Menelik Watson, the versatile Seminole offensive lineman who projects as a late first-round pick or early second-rounder.
Watson, who played primarily on the right side at Florida State, could be a prospect teams look at as a potential left tackle.
Let's take a look at some of his best highlights.
Vs. Miami, 2012
The first thing that's apparent from watching Watson is that he moves well—credit his basketball background for that.
His lateral quickness helps him gain depth against speed rushers and it makes him an asset against quick ends. His agility also helps him get to the second level when necessary—Watson is good at shedding his initial block and getting upfield.
We see a lot of zone blocking from Watson in this video, and though he's versatile enough to play multiple schemes, that's likely the one that suits him best in the NFL.
Vs. Florida, 2012
On the very first play of this reel, you'll see Watson pull wide right to lead the runner on a pitch. Watson's quickness makes him an effective puller, something every team needs along the line.
This video showcases more of Watson's agility along the line, but also demonstrates one of his weaknesses—power. You'll see a number of plays on which Watson gets shoved back due to a failure to anchor (including 4:14), which speaks to both a relative lack of strength and an occassionally high pad level.
Watson's not really a power blocker, instead using his footwork and positioning to leverage guys where he wants them to go. That traditionally means he's more suited to LT than RT, where the bigger run-blockers usually play.
Vs. Maryland, 2012
Again, we see a few instances in which Watson gets pushed back a little bit in the running game—he's going to need to work on getting his pad level lower and anchoring if he hopes not to get abused by bigger NFL defensive linemen.
Watson does have excellent awareness of his zone assignments, as you can see clearly at 1:26 of this video. Off the snap, he gets a quick jump to the outside to pick up the blitzer. He's able to steer his man quickly to interior help and then bounce outside with good lateral movement to pick up another overload blitzer off the edge. Nice play.
Vs. Northern Illinois, (Orange Bowl 2013)
The first play of this reel showcases the value of Watson's long reach. Even when speed rushers get a step on him, he's able to lock in and leverage them past the pocket. He does it a few more times in this video package, including in a replay that starts at about 00:45.
That's an incredibly important skill in combating the relentless outside rushes of NFL defensive ends.
Unfortunately, plays like the one at 6:00 demonstrate exactly how raw Watson is. His footwork is inconsistent and his pad level is often too high. On this play, his hand placement is also too wide, allowing the rusher to get leverage on his chest. Watson essentially gets rag-dolled and has to be bailed out by an EJ Manuel scramble.
These kinds of issues make Watson a bit of a gamble in the first round. He's a talented prospect with excellent mobility, but his technique is raw and he turns 25 in December.
Still, his upside as a zone blocker with pulling skills and second-level quickness make him a borderline first-round pick.
Just in case you're curious, Watson's lack of power doesn't stem from a lack of size or strength. He's got a powerful punch and he's a specimen for the position (6'5", 310 pounds).
He also recorded a 27.5" vertical jump and 19 strength lifts at his pro day in an impressive performance (per NFL.com). His upside is monstrous if he can learn the technique required of an NFL tackle.
As you can see in the video above, when he gets low and leverages his strength against a defender, he has the ability to absolutely crush his matchups.