Menelik Watson named Raiders opening day starter at left tackle

Otto Greule Jr

Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said Friday via conference call that Menelik Watson will be the Raiders' opening day starter at left tackle.

In just a week's time, Raiders rookie tackle, Menelik Watson went from never playing a single snap at left tackle in his life to being named the Raiders' starting left tackle for their season opener in Indianapolis.

"I would anticipate that Menelik Watson will be our starting left tackle for the opening game." Dennis Allen said via conference call today.

There is no beating around the bush in that statement. Watson had left little doubt he is capable of handing the load at the position. Dennis Allen agreed.

"After watching the tape, I was impressed," said Allen. "I thought he looked very comfortable over there. I thought he played hard, I thought he played physical which is something that I wanted to see. I wanted to see if he would play physical and finish. I thought he did that. Obviously there's still a lot of growth potential there but I think for a first time out, for a guy that hasn't play in that position in that environment, I thought he handled himself extremely well."

Watson didn't give up and outright sack in the game on Thursday which was a bit of a shocker to most everyone who knew the situation he was in. But it wasn't a surprise to Allen who says he expected this of his young second round pick.

"I don't know that it surprised me a whole lot. I thought that he would do well because he's a very good athlete and he's a big powerful man. He just hasn't played the position a lot and he's gotta go through the growing process over there. I thought it was great for him to be able to get out there and go through that process and kinda prepare himself for what it might look like on opening day."

The Raiders won't get Jared Veldheer back until at least after week 8 when he is eligible from partial season injured reserve. So, it stands to reason, Watson will be the starter for at least the first half of the season.

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