When the Chicago Bears moved up in the third-round to take running back David Montgomery from Iowa State, the prevailing thought was that the Bears were getting a perfect fit for the Matt Nagy offense. The player comp most associated with Montgomery was Kareem Hunt, and in 2017 as a third-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs, Hunt was named to the Pro Bowl in a similar scheme.
Nagy’s 2018 Bears’ offense wasn’t able to provide as many looks due to not having a versatile tailback. But now, with both the rookie Montgomery and veteran free agent pick up Mike Davis to go along with the do-it-all Tarik Cohen, the Bears should be able to be less predictable on offense.
In a recent ESPN Insider article from Matt Bowen, he takes a look at 15 rookies from the 2019 NFL draft who landed with the perfect teams, and it’s no surprise he talks up the fit Montgomery has in Chicago. Bowen also spotlighted the stat projections from ESPN’s Mike Clay.
Clay’s 2019 projections: 215 carries for 950 yards and six TDs; 35 receptions for 296 yards and one TD
Montgomery is a part of a new backfield rotation in Chicago after the Bears traded Jordan Howard before the draft. Along with free-agent signing Mike Davis and the electrifying versatility of Tarik Cohen, Montgomery brings three-down upside and a pro-running style to Matt Nagy’s system.
With Montgomery’s contact balance and short-area wiggle to slip defenders, I expect him to see steady volume in 2019. He’s a fit to find daylight on inside-zone schemes, and he can also release as a receiver on swings, screens and unders. Montgomery could also quickly emerge as the top back in the tight red zone, getting carries in scoring situations.
If Montgomery does have 250 touches, that will still be short of the 270 touches that Jordan Howard had a year ago. I think 215 rushing attempts might be a little high for him as Davis, Cohen, Cordarrelle Patterson and fellow rookie Kerrith Whyte Jr. all could factor into the mix in 2019. Regardless, the Bears running back committee will present more options for Nagy and keep defenses guessing.