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5th Rounder Montgomery Anxious to Learn




With their first pick of the 2006 NFL Draft, the Redskins reached out to the University of Miami for linebacker Roger "Rocky" McIntosh. Then, on their second opportunity, the Redskins plucked defensive tackle Anthony Montgomery out of the University of Minnesota on Round 5 with the 153rd overall selection. Montgomery's father's name? Rocky.

The 6-5, 311-pound Montgomery visited Redskins Park about two weeks ago and had a premonition that he would wind up as a Washington draftee come this weekend.

"It felt like home and felt like a place that I was supposed to be," Montgomery said on Sunday. "Everyone was friendly. There were a lot of guys working out. I talked to a couple of players like [Antwaan] Randle El and he talked to me like I had been on the team forever. I met with Coach [Joe] Gibbs and we had a nice conversation. It just felt right."

Montgomery played in 45 games for the Gophers with 26 starts. As a senior, he produced 41 tackles and three sacks.

Asked what he does best on the football field, Montgomery said: "I think my size and my athleticism are my strong points at this stage. That, plus the fact that I can use my hands well. But I know I have a lot of room for improvement.

"I need to work on keeping my pads lower, and on improving my footwork and getting off the ball. So I recognize there's a lot of room for improvement in terms of my technique."

A native of Cleveland, Montgomery said he always dreamed about getting drafted by an NFL team. He added: "It was never to get drafted in the first round, although that would have been nice. I got drafted and there are a lot of guys who played football as kids and didn't get this opportunity."

On Sunday, as he sat in his mother's home in Cleveland, Montgomery played the waiting game. He wasn't doing so well. But then the phone rang with the news he had been waiting for.

"I was sitting here, sweating it out," he said. "After I visited Washington, I thought the coaches liked me. I liked everything I saw there, as soon as I walked in the door. The coaches told me they had a fifth-round pick and some sixth-round picks and they said, 'Don't be surprised if I get a call.'

"I visited two teams, Washington and Green Bay. I grew up in Cleveland as a Browns fan, but obviously I didn't care who drafted me. I just want to play football."

Montgomery said he knew little about the Redskins' style of defensive play until he visited Redskins Park recently. He said he came to understand there are similarities to the Minnesota schemes in which he played.

In Cleveland at John F. Kennedy High School, Montgomery was an all-round talent in football and even played quarterback as a junior. He was all-state in baseball and MVP of his high school basketball team.

Looking ahead, the young defensive tackle out of Minnesota says: "As far as being a rookie, I'll just try to fit in. I'll work hard to learn my role and the system. Basically, as a rookie, I'll try to get around the vets and learn as much as I can. Hopefully, I'll be able to contribute to the team, and get in on a play here and there. Whatever they need me to do, I'm ready."

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