ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --There is no question that Menelik Watson has the raw athleticism to succeed at offensive tackle.
It's just a matter of staying healthy -- which in turn, gives him the opportunities to refine his game that he still needs, given that he remains a relative newcomer to the sport.
Nearly all of Watson's NFL experience is at right tackle, although he did make a single start at left tackle for the injured Donald Penn during the Raiders' wild-card loss at Oakland two months ago.
"We'll see where he fits," Executive Vice President/General Manager John Elway said Friday.
Watson is still evolving as a player. He didn't take up American football until 2011 at Saddleback College in California, a two-year college to which he transferred after two seasons playing basketball at Marist College. Watson parlayed that single junior-college season into a scholarship at Florida State. Then he shot onto NFL radars with dramatic improvement at FSU and impressive measurables that included 34-inch arms.
But Watson also needed time and repetitions to channel that athletic ability into elite performance. That hasn't happened because of injuries that include a calf problem last year, a torn Achilles tendon that cost him the entire 2015 season, a concussion during the 2014 season and recurring calf and knee issues in 2013.
All told, Watson has played in just 28 of a possible 65 games, with 18 starts -- including a single fill-in playoff assignment at left tackle last January, when he was forced to step in for Donald Penn.
At 28 and with just five previous years of regular-season football experience, the 6-foot-5, 315-pound Watson still has untapped upside. But first, he must stay healthy.
For that, he will count on the Broncos' strength and conditioning staff.