Redskins Provide Montez a Legitimate Chance to Make 53-man Roster

Jack Stern

While Steven Montez was likely both surprised and upset that he wasn’t drafted, he ultimately landed in a place that gives him an excellent chance to make the 53-man roster.

In a day in age when the scarcity of quarterback openings is so high that former No. 1 picks Jameis Winston and Cam Newton are without a job, and teams would rather use precious draft capital on other positions, Montez’s situation isn’t uncommon and might’ve worked out in his favor. If drafted, he would’ve had little say in which team took him, and might’ve landed with a team where he came in buried on the depth chart in a scheme that didn’t fit his skills.

Instead, he was able to choose a Washington Redskins team that has just two quarterbacks - sophomore Dwayne Haskins and third-year man Kyle Allen on the roster. The three-year starter at Colorado is already penciled in as the third signal-caller, and with two other inexperienced guys ahead of him, could move up the depth chart quickly.

Also, he’ll be starting with a clean slate with first-year head coach Ron Rivera. Riverboat Ron has made it clear that there’ll be competition at the position after trading for Kyle Allen, who served as his QB1 for much of the season in Carolina last year and started off 4-0 in place of Newton before enduring growing pains.

This will open the door for Montez to earn more reps if he impresses early on. Despite Haskins being a first-round pick in 2019, he’s going to be forced to earn everything with a new, no-nonsense, head coach in place. While the former Ohio State Buckeye showed progress late last season, his overall performance and motivation left a lot to be desired.

Veteran Alex Smith is still on the roster, but his long-term future is in jeopardy after suffering a gruesome injury in 2018, and likely won’t be ready to start the season.

With three unproven quarterbacks on rookie contracts, the Texas native will need to come in ready to make an early statement. Undrafted quarterbacks only get so many chances in the NFL, and Montez will need to show early progress if he wants any shot at sticking around, and eventually having a shot at the starting job. Rivera’s proven he’s not afraid to give undrafted quarterbacks the nod, and Montez, with time and progress, could easily earn it.

The former Buff does have a long way to go, however, as his production never matched his potential in college. Tasked with his development will be longtime quarterback whisperer Ken Zampese and first-time offensive coordinator Scott Turner. Both have the patience and pedigree to eliminate Montez’s bad habits while helping him put it all together, but he’s going to have to take his work ethic and determination to the next level if he’s ever going to evolve into the player many think he can be.

Coming in as the third quarterback, he has an excellent shot at minimally securing a backup role. The situation can’t induce complacency in Montez, however, as Rivera has shown he’s willing to actively improve every position on the roster by any means necessary.

Even if Montez felt disrespected being passed over for the likes of Cole McDonald and Ben DiNucci, the difference between being a seventh-round pick and priority undrafted free agent is pretty much non-existent, especially at quarterback. More importantly, he landed in a place that’s good for his development as a player, and where he’ll have a good chance at immediate success. 

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