As the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft came into focus late Friday night, Ryan Pace could no longer sit back and spectate. The ever-aggressive Bears’ general manager saw “his guy” and pounced, something that he’s been no stranger to doing since taking over Chicago’s front office in 2015.
This time, it was none other than Iowa State running back David Montgomery who got the call.
In order to grab the first-team all-Big 12 ball-carrier, the Bears moved up from pick No. 87 to No. 73, swapping spots with the New England Patriots. In addition, Chicago also moved their 2019 fifth-rounder and 2020 fourth-rounder while getting the Patriots’ 2019 sixth-round pick in return.
While Montgomery’s name may not appear as enticing as other RB prospects like Joshua Jacobs or Miles Sanders (my personal favorite) on the surface, make no mistake about it: Montgomery can be just as good, if not better, than anyone in his class.
Throughout the pre-draft process, Montgomery was scouted as the second-best running back available on many experts’ big boards and for good reason. In fact, his grade of 91.1 by Pro Football Focus was number one in his class. Maybe more impressively, he’s the only running back in the PFF era (since 2014) to break more than 100 tackles in a single season. He’s accomplished that feat not just once but twice.
As you can see, it takes much more than some light arm-tackling to bring him down.
Seriously, you can't tackle David Montgomery: pic.twitter.com/5mTQcFs0OT
— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) April 27, 2019
As a player who has amassed a total of 624 carries over his past three collegiate campaigns, Montgomery has proven capable of shouldering a heavy workload at the next level. With a 220-pound frame and eye-popping elusiveness, he’s arguably the most NFL-ready back in this year’s draft.
After shipping away Jordan Howard to the Philadelphia Eagles in late-March, Matt Nagy finally gets the “jack-of-all-trades” back he’s longed for. With adept backfield vision, Montgomery’s patient run-style and quick burst make him an ideal fit for Nagy’s West Coast offense. He’s a hard runner who fights for extra yards and has shown above-average skills as a receiver (58 receptions over his last two seasons).
Simply put, Montgomery can do it all.
The human pinball that is Montgomery should slide right into the starting spot from Day 1. Although the team signed former Seahawks running back Mike Davis to a two-year, $6 million deal earlier this Spring, the early-down role should still be the ex-Cyclone’s job to lose as Tarik Cohen continues to move throughout Nagy’s formation and handle a good chunk of the passing-down work.
Get ready, Bears fans. Montgomery is going to be a difference-maker from the moment he steps foot in Halas Hall.