ALAMEDA -- Growing up in England and training as a boxer, Menelik Watson favored Mike Tyson over fellow Brit Lennox Lewis.
"Tyson was my guy," Watson said.
Coming of age as a soccer player in soccer-mad Britain, Watson preferred Manchester City over more successful Manchester United.
"Because Man United sucks," he barked.
Oh, and have we mentioned that Watson played basketball as a youngster more than football?
Yes, Watson is a seeming walking, ahem, blocking contradiction. But not enough to scare off the Raiders, who made the 6-feet-5, 315-pound right tackle their second-round draft pick, No. 42 overall.
"He's real athletic," coach Dennis Allen said Saturday. "You can see that he's got power."
It was also obvious during the open media practice that Watson rolled an ankle and was held out of certain drills at the end of the workout.
"You see all the attributes of what it takes to play offensive tackle in this league," Allen added. "He's a guy, again, who's relatively inexperienced at the position so he's got a ways to go as far as growing. But the good thing is, is over these first couple of days he's picking everything up pretty good. He's not lost out there. He's got an idea of what's going on and I just see him getting better."
Watson, 24, only began playing football two years ago, suiting up at Saddleback junior college in Mission Viejo before transferring to Florida State and playing one year for the Seminoles. So yeah, his constant playing catch-up should actually help him now as he begins to get inundated with new information. How will he not be overwhelmed?
"Just really focus on what I've got to do," he said after Saturday's rookie camp practice. "Understanding that it’s a job now. It’s the same way I approached it at Florida State, the same way I approached it at Saddleback. You know, understanding what I have to do. Taking my role real serious allows me to block out a lot of the other things that are around and focus on what’s the task at hand.
“I call it more of a crash course, what I went through before. Obviously I’m in the pros now so I want to be here to stay…A lot of times it’s learn on the fly, but now I can sit down and get into the finer details, understand what everything else that’s going on around me, not just what I’ve got to do."
Despite his inexperience, Watson is expected to battle returning veteran Khalif Barnes and free agent vet Alex Barron for the starting right tackle gig. Not that Watson is claiming to start after just a weekend of practices.
"I’m not worried about rotations," he said. "I’m not worried about where I stand in the depth chart. The main thing is coming and doing my job. If I come in and do that and focus on that alone, who knows what the outcome will be."