May 20, 2013; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders tackle Menelik Watson (71) at organized team activities at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders OT Menelik Watson returns to practice; could play Sunday

In recent years, the Oakland Raiders have had serious issues getting value out of their own draft picks. That point seemed to be recurring when this year’s 2nd round pick, offensive tackle Menelik Watson, went down before the start of the regular season with a knee injury, but now, it appears as if the rookie is nearing a return to the lineup.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle (via Vic Tafur), Watson hit the practice field on Wednesday for the first time in over a month, and he could be on track to return to the starting lineup as soon as this Sunday. He was actually beat out for the starting left tackle spot at one point during the preseason, but there is no question that Watson is a) the most physically gifted option at 6-foot-5 and 310 pounds, and b) the future at the left tackle spot, whether it is protecting Terrelle Pryor’s blind side or someone else’s.

It’s far too early to project an immediate starting role for this week, but Watson seems to be on a positive track. The rookie from Florida State isn’t a sure-fire 15-year starter at the position (hence his 2nd-round grade), but Oakland is in desperate need of building blocks, and he could be one of them.

Tags: Menelik Watson Oakland Raiders

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