Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
According to Raiders director of player personnel Joey Clinkscales, Watson will come in and compete for multiple positions including both tackle positions and at guard.
The Raiders have an underrated Jared Veldheer on the left side of their offensive line and he isn’t likely to be supplanted by Watson in 2013.
The right tackle position, on the other hand, is much more open. The Raiders re-signed last year’s starter, Khalif Barnes, as a contingency plan in 2013. Barnes isn’t an ideal starter, however, as he struggles with drive-killing false start penalties and lacks the speed to stop speedy rushers off the edge.
Watson’s ability to play immediately will depend on how fast he can continue to learn the nuances of the OT position. The Raiders offensive line coach, Tony Sparano, is widely respected in the league for his teaching abilities and he will be charged with taking the raw but exciting Watson and molding him into a starting player for Oakland.
The Raiders would not have selected Watson early in the second round if they didn’t believe he would be able to contribute early.
The 25-year-old Watson is older than the average rookie, but he’s reportedly very focused on football. His dedication to the game likely endeared him to Reggie McKenzie and his staff, and this commitment also will help smooth his transition the rigors of the NFL.
I look for Watson to earn the starting right tackle position quickly. He may not be the starting RT Week 1, but he should be positioned there by the middle of the 2013 season.