Menelik Watson gets his starting chance

Oakland Raiders

British born NFL player Menelik Watson will get his first preseason start on Thursday when his Raiders team face the Seattle Seahawks.

He will start in a relatively unknown position; he starts at left tackle having played all of his college games at right tackle. It is not a huge difference but at the NFL level it will take some time to adjust.

Watson, born and grew up in Manchester, was drafted in the second round by the Oakland Raiders in April’s draft after he had attended Florida State college, where he saw playing time exclusively at right tackle.

Having grown up in Manchester he had ambitions to play football for his childhood club Manchester City, unfortunately he suffered a serious knee injury while playing with friends that put pay to his dreams of playing for the blue half of Manchester.

He was advised to give up sport entirely but he showed the determination needed to get into the NFL by joining a local basketball team, eventually after being taken to the US to play basketball a coach noticed his size and speed before suggesting to him the American Football would be a better career path.

The rest is history and now he has made it on to an NFL roster in time for the 2013 season. As with all rookies he is a work in progress but he hasn’t had a chance to showcase his skills due to a leg injury that has prevented him taking part in a large section of training camp.

He will be out to show that he deserves a place not just on the roster but in the starting line up.

image: © chrisyunker