NFL draft: Florida State's Menelik Watson tipped for first-round selection

Last Updated: 26/04/13 4:20pm

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Manchester-born Menelik Watson is being tipped to be selected in the first round of Thursday's NFL draft after taking to the brutal sport like a duck to water.

The 24-year-old's dream had been to play basketball in the NBA and it was that ambition that took him to the United States after time in the Canary Islands.

Things did not work out for Watson at basketball and he was considering returning to Europe when he decided to give American football a try, a decision with a remarkable outcome.

"If I couldn't play I couldn't play, but everything came naturally. Everything just took off from there."
Watson on American football


He is now one of the highest-rated young players in America after impressing as right tackle for Florida State and he cannot believe how quickly he has adapted to the sport.

"I used to play basketball for the Manchester Magic. I loved it," he told Sky Sports. "Basketball was my thing. I always dreamt about coming to America and playing college basketball and then playing in the NBA.

"I ended up leaving when I was 18, going to Europe. Playing in the Canary Islands, in the CBA academy. Schools would come over and give Scholarship offers. I got a scholarship offer from Marist College.


"When I got there I met a great group of people. I met some great coaches, but it wasn't the right situation.

"I was thinking about coming back home and coming back to Europe and maybe playing for the Giants or something. Before I left I was like 'I've still got my Visa'. I've always dreamt about being here.

"I think I might as well give football a try. Do you know what I mean? I'd be foolish not to. If I couldn't play I couldn't play, but everything came naturally. Everything just took off from there."

It all goes down at midnight on April 25 live on Sky Sports 1HD, and it will now also be available to non-Sky subscribers who can watch the Draft live via a Now TV Day Pass.

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