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Sam Montgomery vs. Trevardo Williams
Nothing improves a player quite like competition, and the Texans fully bought into that belief on draft day.
Competition brings out a player's true colors, exposing them to the rest of the world. When placed in a fierce competition, hard workers will rise and lazy players will descend quickly.
When the Texans drafted Sam Montgomery, many questions had arisen about his work ethic.
Yes, Montgomery was an incredible defensive end who played with a seemingly endless motor at LSU. His athletic ability should have landed him in the late-first or second round. But many critics claimed that Montgomery had no motivation to succeed, and he helped fuel these claims by innocently confiding to the media that "effort was not needed" against LSU's lesser opponents.
So, after selecting Montgomery, the Texans immediately drafted another outside linebacker in the next round in Trevardo Williams, setting up what will be a competitive offseason roster battle.
Of the two linebackers, Montgomery is much more talented. He possesses a multitude of pass-rush moves, he is stout against the run and is an excellent tackler.
Williams is the superior athlete; he is much faster and more agile. This, however, was actually what hurt his draft stock. In college, he was never asked to develop much of a pass-rushing skill set. He was so quick that he was instructed to just run right by the offensive lineman on every play.
This strategy certainly benefited Connecticut's defense. He accumulated 30.5 sacks in his career for the Huskies, and his athleticism got him noticed by NFL scouts, but it became clear that his rawness as a player would prevent him from getting drafted early.
Williams, whether he is ready or not to play in the NFL, will push Montgomery in the offseason. And that is extremely important. We will learn either that Montgomery is a hard worker or that his critics were correct and that he lacks the motivation to sacrifice himself for the team.
My guess is that Montgomery rises to the occasion.
Depending on whether Brooks Reed moves from outside linebacker to inside linebacker, Montgomery and Williams will either be competing for the primary backup role or a starting job.
Winner: Sam Montgomery