About this time last year, many NFL draft analysts considered linebacker Sam Montgomery a first round pick. Some pundits had Montgomery rated as their top overall prospect going into the 2012 college football season. But as the season went on, Montgomery never came into his own as a player and his production never approached his athleticism.
But the Houston Texans thought Montgomery was enough of a value in the third round to go ahead and take a shot on him. There’s no doubt Montgomery passes the eye test. 6-3 and 263 lbs. with long arms and lots of lean muscle. But you put on the tape of him at LSU and the biggest thing I saw was the lack of effort. He gave up too soon on too many plays, and let himself get swallowed up, coming off the edge far too often.
So, as training camp approaches, what is the plan for Montgomery? Well, according to the latest Texans’ depth chart, Montgomery is listed as the third string left outside linebacker. I think it’s safe to assume that this season for Montgomery is going to be less about being pushed into action and more about learning the position. Montgomery is going to be surrounded by some of the most talented, and hardest working pass rushers in the league in JJ Watt and Antonio Smith. He would do well to allow them to mentor him, work hard and learn everything he can. To be blunt, Montgomery was lazy in college and admitted as much. If he’s lazy in the NFL, he won’t be in the league for long.
Texans fans should be be cautiously optimistic about Montgomery this first season. Outside linebackers Brooks Reed and Whitney Mercilus are very talented, and should be able to compliment that impressive front three. But if Montgomery can wake up and understand what an opportunity he has, he might just find some drive and motivation to improve and become a very capable backup as a rookie.