Something that was of hot debate last April among Houston Texans fans was where the team was planning to play third-round draft pick Sam Montgomery. Shortly after the draft, it was stated by team officials that he would be changing positions and playing outside linebacker.
After getting behind in camp and being the invisible man in the preseason, the team announced this week that he was changing positions from outside linebacker to defensive end. In my opinion, this was the plan from the get go.
Texans OLB Sam Montgomery swtching to DE and his number changes from 57 to 95.
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) September 25, 2013
In a debate with the crew on my Texans podcast, I stated that I thought Montgomery would play defensive end at this level and all of this linebacker talk was foolish. I don’t know if it was because they needed help on the outside or if they didn’t want to deal with any player ego concerns, but I never bought him playing linebacker. I was a man on an island in that discussion, though, as they felt he was too light to play end at this level.
My defense for Montgomery playing end in this scheme was that he had two options to go with. First, his body frame looks well capable of holding up if he added some weight. Second, Andre Carter had similar height and weight as Montgomery and he had quite a fine career playing end.
Montgomery is a run stuffer, not a hell-raising pass rusher, so that’s why I always saw this as the move. In my opinion, this was either going to be the change or the team was going to end up admitting their mistake with him and possibly moving on pretty quick.
Antonio Smith is in the last year of his contract and with J.J. Watt due for an extension soon, which will likely be the richest in all of football. The team hopes to see something out of Montgomery in this spot to fill in if Smith moves on this offseason. There’s going to be very little money floating around and the cap is going to be tight.
I believe that the team doesn’t think Jared Crick is that guy, even though I think that was the plan when they drafted him. There’s still a small chance they bring Smith back, but going off of their track record with their own free agents the past couple of offseasons, I wouldn’t be going out and picking up that Texans 94 jersey anytime soon.
Montgomery was considered a first-round talent before his interviews at the combine and questions about his work ethic dropped him down team draft boards. Houston decided to take a chance on him and things haven’t gone quite according to plan yet, but it’s still early.
Montgomery could flourish at end and his first few months as an NFL player will be easily forgotten. At least now, the team is giving him a chance to succeed.