Right tackle was a one of the higher priorities last off-season for the Raiders. The team had Khalif Barnes manning the position but were looking to find a long term solution. That led them to draft Menelik Watson in the second round of the 2013 draft. But before Watson could take the field in training camp, he was injured and in the process of finding a placeholder, they may have found a gem.
That gem I speak of is, of course, Matt McCants who was signed at the beginning of the season as a reserve fill in for the once again injured Menelik Watson.
McCants was a 2012 round six pick by the New York Giants. He spent his rookie season in New York and the 2013 training camp but was waived in the final roster cutdown. The Raiders quickly swiped up McCants and brought him into the fold.
At the same time, the Raiders signed veteran offensive tackle, Tony Pashos, as the starter at right tackle so McCants was initially relegated to a backup role. But by week four, Pashos was injured as well and McCants was forced into service.
Usually when a team is turning to their fourth option, especially at a position as vital as offensive tackle, the results are somewhere close to disastrous. Not the case with McCants. He held his own quite well in fact, and proved to be a viable option at right tackle.
All told McCants started three games and played extensive minutes in four games while appearing in a total of 13 games. In that time, he didn't give up a single sack or hit on the quarterback with just three QB hurries.
Pashos also played well but he is 33 years-old. McCants is just 25 which means his best football is ahead of him.
There is no way to know if Menelik Watson will pan out. But if he doesn't, or if he struggles with injuries again, the Raiders may have found themselves their answer in a former low round pick who was tossed on the scrap heap.
As a prophetic philosopher once said; "Life is what happens while you're making other plans."