Summary: Every season of college football features a number of players who come out of nowhere to be dominant forces. BYU defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and Watson are all potential first-round picks who were unknowns a year ago.
Watson grew up playing soccer and basketball in Manchester, England. After playing some junior college football, Watson ended up at Florida State. He took the ACC by storm in 2012 and was a dominant blocker. The Seminoles had a lot of success running behind him and he did extremely well in pass protection.
As far as an athletic skill set goes, Watson is a rare talent. He is extremely fast, strong and agile for such a big blocker. Watson has quick feet with superb agility for an offensive lineman. The background in soccer and basketball seem to really help him in this regard. He is strong and can blast open running holes. Watson can push defensive linemen out of their gap at the line of scrimmage and has the explosiveness to hit blocks on the second level.
Watson has long arms and the length to remain at tackle in the NFL. With his athleticism, some teams feel he could make the move to left tackle after some developmental time.
One thing that teams can feel comfortable about is Watson's work ethic to maximize his potential. He has been driven to learn the game and has put in a lot of time in the film room. Scouts have told WalterFootball.com that Watson is a really smart kid and is good on the chalk board. He wowed teams with his football knowledge in the Combine interviews.
Considering that Watson is raw, it wouldn't be surprising if he sees some time at guard early in his career before moving back to tackle. In the NFL, Watson could fit a zone scheme or power man-blocking scheme. He would be great in a zone-blocking system due to his speed and athleticism.
Sources said that Watson is grading out as a top-32 pick despite only playing one season of big-time college football. If Watson somehow slips out of the first round, he should go quickly in Round 2.
Player Comparison: Willie Anderson. Watson is patterning his game off the great Bengals offensive tackle and that is a good choice for a variety of reasons. Obviously, Anderson was very successful in the NFL, and Watson has a similar skill set to Anderson. Both players have demonstrated quick feet and superb athleticism for big blockers. They each have good strength and power in the ground game, too. Anderson is serving as a mentor for Watson and that should help Watson to reach his potential in the NFL. No team can expect Watson to become as good as Anderson was, but Watson has the potential to be a special player.
NFL Matches: Cincinnati, Green Bay, Houston, Baltimore, Jacksonville, Detroit, Arizona, Miami
There are a lot of potential landing spots for Watson late in the first round and into Round 2. The highest that he could hope to go would be to the Bengals with the 21st overall pick. Cincinnati could use a right tackle if Andre Smith isn't re-signed.
The Packers' offensive line had a lot of issues in 2012. Tackles Bryan Bulaga and Derek Sherrod are both dealing with injuries. Watson could play guard if Bulaga and Sherrod are healthy. Watson is a great fit in Green Bay's blocking scheme and looks like a natural choice for the team's first-round pick. Ted Thompson has targeted the offensive line in the first round in the past.
The Texans would consider taking Watson if he's the best player on the board. They could use a right tackle and Watson is a great scheme fit. Baltimore needs a long-term left tackle and Watson could be in play for the final pick of the first round.
At the beginning of second round, Watson could go to the Jaguars. They need a right tackle, and he could easily be the best player on the board if he makes it to Friday night.
The Lions, Cardinals and Dolphins could all select an offensive tackle in the first round. If any of those teams pass on a tackle, they could target Watson in Round 2, although they might need to trade up to get him.