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A knee injury threatens to keep the rookie offensive lineman out of Sunday’s season-opener in Indianapolis, per Jerry McDonald of the San Jose Mercury News, though it doesn’t appear to be a long-term concern. That’s good news for the Raiders, who fully expect their second-round pick to play a pivotal role up front in 2013.
If he’s healthy, Watson will start at left tackle in place of the injured Jared Veldheer and will be charged with protecting the quarterback’s blind side. He held up fairly well after making the switch over from the right side prior to the final game of the preseason, but it’s a huge leap from the exhibition schedule to the regular season, especially for a rookie.
Watson has great size (6’5”, 315 pounds) and uses his hands extremely well, which is a result of his boxing and basketball background. However, he is still very raw, having played football for just two seasons, including one at a junior college in Southern California.
The hope in Oakland is that Watson can hold up well enough until Veldheer is cleared to return from his triceps injury. After that, it’s likely—if not probable—that the Raiders will move him back to the right side to make a push at tackle Khalif Barnes’ job.