Manchester's Watson drafted by Raiders
Manchester-born Menelik Watson was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the second round of the NFL draft on Friday.
Watson, an offensive tackle from Florida State, was taken with the 42nd overall pick by the Raiders - and will now look to earn his place on the depth chart ahead of the start of the new season.
The selection continues a remarkable rise for Watson, who originally moved to the United States to play basketball for Marist College in 2009, before heading to Saddleback College two years later to try his hand at American football.
He impressed enough there to earn a scholarship offer from Florida State, showing enough promise in 12 games to attract the attention of the Raiders.
Watson always thought he had the ability to make it in the NFL.
"With the chance, I know I can play at the highest level, in the NFL," he said recently. "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."
The Raiders, while conceding that Watson will "need work", believe he can contribute quickly to their cause.
"He played at a major university," Raiders director of player personnel Joey Clinkscales said after the pick. "From a technique standpoint, he'll need work. He was coached pretty hard if you know anything about Florida State football.
"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."
Another British prospect, Olympian Lawrence Okoye, is still waiting to see if he will be drafted in one of the later rounds on Saturday.
The Raiders won just four of their 16 regular season games last season. They have won three Super Bowls in their history, but last made the play-offs in 2002.