ENGLEWOOD, Colo. —** For the second year in a row, the Broncos have drawn an offensive tackle to switch loyalties from an AFC West rival in free agency.
Tackle Menelik Watson, a four-year veteran previously with the Raiders, has agreed to terms on a three-year contract with Denver as the team looks to build up its offensive line.
Watson was drafted by Oakland in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft with the 42nd overall pick, but he has struggled with injuries since entering the league. Even though he was inactive for the first seven games of his rookie season, Watson recovered to play in five games, starting three. In his second season, he played in 12 games with nine starts before a foot/ankle injury sidelined him for the final four weeks of the year. Watson missed the 2015 season after suffering a torn Achilles tendon in Oakland's third preseason game.
In 2016, Watson recovered to play in 10 games, and returned to a starting role for six games, including their final two games of the season and the playoff game against Houston.
Originally from Manchester, England, Watson is still relatively new to football, as he began playing competitive football at Saddleback (Calif.) College in 2011. His athleticism and potential quickly made him a top junior-college target, drawing interest from top Division-I schools. He chose Florida State for his final season of eligibility, leveraging the opportunity into an All-ACC honorable mention selection and then a second-round draft selection in 2013.