|NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: LSU DE Sam Montgomery||02.20.13 at 8:24 am ET|
WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that might be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2013 NFL draft. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.
Position: Defensive end
Weight: 260 pounds
Achievements: 2012 AP All-America third team, 2012 Walter Camp All-America second team, 2011-12 Coaches’ All-SEC first team, 2011 FWAA All-American first team, 2010 Coaches’ Freshman All-SEC
What he brings: Montgomery entered the draft early after two standout seasons with one of the premiere defenses in college football. However, he’s not even the best defensive end prospect from LSU in this year’s draft, with former teammate Barkevious Mingo projected to come off the board within the first 15 selections.
The phrase “high motor” is thrown around a lot when describing “Sonic” Sam, who draws inspiration for his tenacity from the video game character Sonic the Hedgehog. Montgomery, who has experience rushing the passer from a standup position in addition to his work as a 4-3 end while at LSU, shows shows a lot of versatility in his game. Regardless of the team, it’s likely he can be plugged in early on without much concern for a glaring weakness in his game.
The main issue with Montgomery is that, while he’s a prime athletic specimen who excelled at the college level, the upside doesn’t appear to be there the same way it is with some of this draft’s more intriguing prospects.
Montgomery’s 17 sacks over his last two season at LSU certainly are a boon to his draft stock, but the big question for NFL scouts is how he got those sacks and whether or not his defensive skill set matches up well against NFL-level offensive linemen. Montgomery, who has a reputation as a very basic pass-rusher who has a long way to go in terms of developing an arsenal of pass-rush moves, must prove to NFL scouts that he can make the transition.
Where the Patriots could get him: No. 29 overall
Notes: Montgomery’s draft stock is reminiscent of Jermaine Cunningham’s in the 2010 draft when Cunningham became overshadowed by a higher-profile Florida teammate at defensive end who had a higher ceiling: current Bengal Carlos Dunlap. Three seasons later, it’s clear who won that battle. Cunningham has tallied just 3.5 sacks in New England while failing to secure a spot in the starting lineup. Meanwhile, Dunlap has 20 sacks as a pass-rush specialist for the Bengals.
It will be interesting to see whether Bill Belichick sticks with his track record or tries to avoid making a similar selection in Montgomery, although Belichick does have a history of selecting fundamentally sound players to add to his defense.
One of the major knocks on Montgomery is his lack of explosiveness off the ball and the fact that, rather than wreaking havoc and creating sacks, he often gets to the quarterback through effort and performs mop-up duty in the backfield. However if the right coaching staff can manage to mold him into a technician in the pass rush, he could become a steal in a crowded draft class for pass-rushers.
Related articles: LSU Sports: In focus: I am Sam
Video: Here’s Montgomery in action vs. Washington and Auburn last season.
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