The Redskins had a quiet draft in 2006 after they used up most of their picks in order to acquire free agents. Having made all of their splashy trades and acquisitions before April, Washington used its draft primarily to obtain quality depth for its defense—with 5 out of 6 picks coming on the defensive side of the ball.
After trading up to the second round in order to draft Rocky McIntosh from Miami, Washington did not draft again until the second day, when in the fifth round they selected Anthony Montgomery, a DT from Minnesota. The Redskins hope that they have found an underrated, late-round gem in Montgomery, who will become a defensive line project-player this season
Montgomery has the raw, physical tools needed to succeed in the NFL. Despite his size (6’5”, 315 lbs), he has not been burdened by his weight since he lost 30 pounds over his final two seasons at Minnesota. In pre-draft coverage, he was regularly praised by scouts for his athleticism and was known as a nimble run-stopper capable of taking on double teams. In fact, Montgomery’s draft value was so tied to his athletic capabilities—rather than his d-line specific skills—that some teams were even considering drafting him in order to convert him to an offensive lineman.
Such a move would not be completely unfamiliar to Montgomery, who in high school played several positions on both offense and defense—including a brief stint at quarterback. Born and raised in Cleveland, Montgomery also lettered in basketball and baseball in his time at John F Kennedy High School.
He went on to attend the University of Minnesota, where he began making an impact as a defensive tackle / nose guard. In 46 games at Minnesota, Montgomery started 31 times. In his four years as a Gopher, Montgomery registered 141 tackles (90 solos) and eight sacks (for a loss of 59 yards). He recovered three fumbles and forced two more. He also deflected four passes and intercepted two others.
Gregg Williams might very well place Montgomery into the rotation immediately. The Skins had weaknesses in the depth of their d-line last year, and when Griffin and Salave’a went out with injuries, Williams had to move natural ends to the tackle position. Anthony will not need to be a superstar to perform; he will simply need to be a reliable backup that can give relief to the starting tackles. Fifth round draft choices rarely make their mark right away, but Gregg Williams’ schemes have been known to allow otherwise mediocre-to-good players shine (i.e. Clark, Pierce, Marshall, Harris, Springs). Montgomery may not turn heads this season, but watch to see if he will give our starters a breather every few series or fill in when someone else gets injured—if he does, then he may play a key role on this team, especially late in the season.
- Daniel Coleman