Updated: 12:40 p.m.
The Bengals continued their trend of giving highly drafted players another look Friday when they signed former Houston third-round pick Sam Montgomery and put him into the battle to get in the defensive line rotation at end.
It is a practice that has paid off lately. The 6-3, 262-pound Montgomery joins on the roster rebound players like first-round cornerbacks Terence Newman and Adam Jones, first-round safety Reggie Nelson, second-round center-guard Mike Pollak.
This offseason they've added a second-round safety in Danieal Manning and even their own third-round pick from three years ago, defensive end Dontay Moch. Two pass rushers that didn't get through the last two training camps, Derrick Harvey and Aaron Maybin, were high first-rounders.
The difference is that the 6-3, 262-pound Montgomery is getting his second chance so early because his first one ended so suddenly and he has yet to make it in the league. He was released back in October just months after the Texans drafted him 95th when he reportedly smoked marijuana before a game. Montgomery denied it, signed with Oakland in December, and was put on injured reserve after he hurt his knee in his first practice with the Raiders.
Pro Football Talk.com reported that the Bengals worked out Montgomery after he was cut by the Texans. He was reportedly out of shape when he arrived at the Houston rookie minicamp and PFT reported that Montgomery has owned up to not always playing with great effort at LSU.
But Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis has shown an ability to inspire the discarded (FYI: Pro Bowl linebacker Vontaze Burfict) and he relates extremely well with young players looking for their way. It's believed Montgomery worked out for the Bengals again when they were in town at LSU's pro day this week and he looked good enough to sign.
Montgomery turns only 24 next month and he just may be the kind of athlete that Lewis can coax back to his college days, where he had 19 sacks to go with 32.5 tackles for loss in 31 games. The Bengals are always looking for a little pop off the edge in the pass rush and Montgomery is another shot at it.
With the Bengals listing him as a defensive end, it looks like he won't be in the mix at outside backer, which is where Houston drafted him. But he looked out of position in a 3-4. Here, the Bengals are hoping they can take advantage of his straight-ahead pass rush instincts.
Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth knows Montgomery a little bit from his visits back to Baton Rouge and is hopeful he can recapture what he had going on for the Tigers.
"I'm excited for him to get an opportunity and I'm hoping he'll take advantage of the opportunity in front of him both on and off the field," Whitworth said in a text Friday morning, "to show what made him such a good player at LSU."
Like Moch, waived by the Bengals last training camp and signed by the Cardinals before they cut him last month and was claimed by the Bengals, Montgomery has a long road. They already have four solid ends in Carlos Dunlap, Wallace Gilberry, Robert Geathers and Margus Hunt and it's unclear if they'll keep five.
They have in the past, but with the Bengals maybe keeping three quarterbacks, one position may have to be light in the numbers game. With two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins coming off ACL surgery, they'll almost certainly keep four tackles, so that ninth defensive line spot might not even be there.