Tony Avelar Associated Press

D.J. Hayden, the Raiders’ first-round pick, with GM Reggie McKenzie, shows off his new number – 25.

Raiders go global with second-, third-round picks in NFL draft

Published: Saturday, Apr. 27, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Sunday, Apr. 28, 2013 - 11:53 am

ALAMEDA – The Raiders have long made an effort to be a global brand. And with their two picks on the second day of the NFL draft, they took a global approach.

The Raiders selected offensive tackle Menelik Watson and linebacker Sio Moore in the second and third rounds Friday.

Watson comes to the Raiders from Florida State via Manchester, England. Moore played at Connecticut and was born in Liberia before moving to the United States as an infant.

Watson took the more unusual route to Oakland. He came to America as a basketball player for Marist College in 2009. After giving up basketball, Watson ended up at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo for the 2011 football season.

Watson showed enough in eight games to earn multiple scholarship offers before deciding to attend Florida State for the 2012 season. Watson started 12 games, earned an All-Atlantic Coast Conference honorable mention honor and became the 42nd overall selection in the draft.

Between Marist and Saddleback, Watson even tried boxing.

Before Watson ever played in a football game, he thought he could one day play in the NFL.

"I wrote this draft when I was leaving Marist," the 6-foot-5, 310-pound Watson said. "… And the draft was just basically explaining who I am and where I'm from. I said in that letter, I wrote that with the chance, I know I can play at the highest level, in the NFL. I just knew that with the right coaching and the right situation, and obviously (I'm) disciplined enough to go out there and put in the extra time, I knew that it was possible."

Even with just 21 career games, the Raiders believe Watson's athleticism and work ethic will allow him to catch on in the NFL.

"He played at a major university," Raiders director of player personnel Joey Clinkscales said. "From a technique standpoint, he'll need work. He was coached pretty hard if you know anything about Florida State football, the offensive line coach (Rick Trickett) there. He's been tutored well. We feel like he'll be able to come in and adjust to the pro game pretty quickly and contribute."

Watson played right tackle for the Seminoles but will get looks on both sides of the offensive line for the Raiders.

Moore already is familiar with the Raiders. He played for the coaching staff during the Senior Bowl and enjoyed the experience.

A three-year starter and two-time All-Big East selection, Moore said he's happy to be a Raider. He's also confident.

"Like I said from the beginning of this whole draft process, there's going to be one team that's going to fall in love and make the right pick, and there's going to be 31 other teams that are going to be (ticked) off," Moore said. "The Oakland Raiders got the best linebacker in the draft. I don't care who went before."

Moore was credited with 72 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks last season.

The Raiders used Moore (6-1, 245) as an outside linebacker and defensive end as a pass rusher in the Senior Bowl. If Moore could help there, he could play soon. The Raiders were 31st in the NFL with just 25 sacks last season.

Even with their different paths to the NFL, coach Dennis Allen said Watkins and Moore had something in common that makes them what the Raiders want in players.

"I spoke to both those players after we took them, and both of them have a little bit of a chip on their shoulder," Allen said. "They want to prove that they belong in the NFL. They want to prove that they were worthy of being picked where they were picked and, really, in their minds, should have been picked sooner. So, that's a great thing. Both of them love the game of football, and both of them want to be really good."

Follow The Bee's Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the Raiders at www.sacbee.com/raiders.

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