Why Oakland Raiders Should Take a Closer Look at Menelik Watson at Right Tackle

When it was decided that Oakland Raiders’ offensive lineman Austin Howard would switch back to his natural position at tackle, he became the front-runner for the starting position in the upcoming season. As College GameDay anchor Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast my friends.”

Of all the competition battles heading into training camp, the battle at right tackle is the least talked about competition. Usually when a player reverts back to their natural position, vast improvements are expected. Howard will likely have a better season as a tackle, but his track record doesn’t indicate he should become the front-running starter: 

In his first 16 starts, he struggled tremendously and vastly improved in the following year. When comparing Howard’s good year with the New York Jets and offensive guard Menelik Watson’s 2014 campaign, neither player significantly outperformed the other.

Momentum should play a factor between the two. Howard is coming off an entire season playing guard, while Watson should be given the opportunity to build off an average season at tackle.

Continuity is essential in developing a raw talent with potential. Watson’s continuity was interrupted by an ankle injury in the last quarter of the season, per Levi Damien of SilverandBlackPride.com.

To my surprise, Oakland’s talented offensive lineman carries a “bust” label when discussed. Bleacher Report’s Christopher Hansen has already filed him under one of general manager Reggie McKenzie’s bad picks, making his reference via Twitter:

Is this the label he deserves after 21 hurries allowed and two sacks in 12 starts? He has dealt with injuries in his first two seasons just like cornerback D.J. Hayden, but the narratives on their season outlooks are much different. Hayden is the unquestioned starter at cornerback, but Watson ...

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