When looking at rookie running backs, I think you need to focus on potential -- what this guy can be if everything goes right. Next step is to determine what the odds are of that player actually reaching that potential. Then you're able to rank players both in terms of what they can be, and what they realistically will be. So throughout the pre-draft process, I've been intrigued by David Montgomery.
Montgomery looks good on tape, running low to the ground and always leaning forward for extra yards while being tackled. He was a three-down back at Iowa State, putting up big numbers as a runner and also catching 58 passes the last two seasons. He wasn't working behind a great line, different from the top back selected in the draft, Alabama's Josh Jacobs.
He was drafted in the third round by Chicago, and that caused some fantasy muttering initially. They've got Tarik Cohen to play on third downs, they signed Mike Davis too, etc.
But the Bears, who came into the draft already short on picks (Khalil Mack and Anthony Miller trades), surrendered two mid-rounders, including a 2020 fourth, to move up 14 spots to draft Montgomery. Early last season they tried to give Jordan Howard a full-time role (he caught 10 passes the first three games) before scrapping it and using Cohen more. But Montgomery is a better receiver than Howard (traded last month, of course). Matt Nagy concedes there are similarities between the rookie and Kareem Hunt, who he coached in Kansas City.
Montgomery wasn't as prolific a receiver in college as Hunt, and certainly Cohen should get most of those chances. But there are some similarities. In the table, final year of college numbers are shown.
|MONTGOMERY VERSUS HUNT|
"Yeah, there are some similarities, for sure,’’ Nagy says. ‘‘The size of them. You see how they run between the tackles. They are physical. They run angry — both of them. But he’s going to be his own person. He’s going to be David Montgomery, nobody else.’’
Speed, or lack thereof, is a concern. He’s not going to run away from people, and didn’t do it in college. Jacobs is faster, although he also ran just a 4.6. That’s a worry with Montgomery. But as Hunt and Janes Conner have shown, that stuff gets overrated sometimes.
My rookie draft is this Friday, and I have the 2nd overall pick. No. 1 is likely to be either Jacobs or maybe N'Keal Harry. At No. 2 I'm looking at one of those players, Miles Sanders, or Montgomery. I've got a week to figure out who to take. Opinions welcome.