All may not be as it appears for Montgomery, however. While strong and fast, Montgomery is also a bit stiff in the hips, lacking the change of direction skills that some believe are critical to a pass rusher's success in the NFL. Montgomery also lacks burst off the snap, negating somewhat his impressive speed.
Nevertheless, Montgomery has been productive throughout his career. He signed with LSU as a highly regarded recruit in 2009 but was redshirted as a freshman. While he missed most of the next season with the knee injury, Montgomery certainly flashed the playmaking ability to leave LSU fans excited about his potential, racking up an impressive 18 tackles, including six tackles for loss and two sacks in only five games. A year later, he led the team in sacks (nine) and finished second in tackles for loss (13.5), accomplishing this feat despite typically facing the opponent's best blocker (left tackle) and coming off a 2010 campaign in which he missed the final eight games with a torn ACL in his right knee.
Montgomery reportedly worked very hard to improve upon his redshirt sophomore season's totals, adding 30 pounds of muscle while maintaining his jaw-dropping athleticism. He once again led LSU's defensive linemen in tackles for loss (12) and sacks (seven) in 2012, but finished with "just" 32 tackles overall in his redshirt junior season.
Possessing the length and speed to find a niche in every NFL defense, Montgomery certainly is intriguing. However, considering the relative struggles experienced from other highly touted LSU defensive linemen in the NFL, NFL teams should exercise some caution when projecting Montgomery into the league.
Weaknesses: Too often is slow off the snap, ranking, in fact, as the final player to react off the ball much of the time. Struggles a bit to disengage from blocks when he's initially contained. Flashes a quick spin back to the inside but otherwise is a bit reliant on his speed and bull rushes. He does not possess elite flexibility to dip under the reach of talented pass protectors and while possessing long, strong arms doesn't consistently keep his hands working to break free. Too often he's locked up and doesn't break until the ball has passed him. Struggles changing directions due to stiffness in his hips and can be left in the dust by elusive ball-carriers who see him coming. Reacts late to cut blocks and too often is negated by them.
Compares To: Lawrence Jackson, DE, Detroit Lions -- Just as Jackson earned a first round selection out of USC based largely on his production against quality competition and effort, Montgomery may earn a high pick despite lacking some of the key characteristics that usually result in NFL success.