As one of the first skill position players picked in the 2019 NFL Draft, Bears running back David Montgomery projects as a prime Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate.
With his well-rounded skill set, the third-round pick projects as a perfect fit in Chicago’s offensive scheme. He has impressive contact balance, but he also has the lateral agility to make defenders miss and bounce outside of the tackles—an important trait in an inside zone scheme like that of the Bears. His reliable hands and fluidity as a route runner give him value on passing downs, which will give the team the steady backfield receiver they wanted Jordan Howard to become.
However, Montgomery will have an uphill battle to receive touches early on in the season. With veterans Mike Davis and Tarik Cohen also in the backfield, there will be a fight for the three of them to get carries. Fellow rookie Kerrith Whyte Jr. and free agent signing Cordarrelle Patterson, who saw the bulk of his touches come on the ground with the Patriots last year, will also compete for snaps.
It’s this logjam in Chicago’s backfield that has Montgomery facing tough odds to win Offensive Rookie of the Year in Vegas sportsbooks. Sascha Paruk from Sports Betting Dime has the Iowa State alum ranked in a tie for tenth place for the award.
Sports Betting Dime is tracking all of the listed rookie of the year odds here; meanwhile, Paruk had this to say about Montgomery’s chances:
David Montgomery is about 19/1 or 20/1 to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, depending on the sportsbook. He’s well behind the favorite, #1 pick Kyler Murray at +225, but he has the second-best odds among running backs.
Only the Raiders’ Josh Jacobs, the #24 overall pick, is ahead of Montgomery at +900. Given how far Ryan Pace moved up to grab Montgomery, he’s expected to play a huge role in the Chicago offense, devouring the meat that Jordan Howard was leaving on the bone.
Though the Bears have a stacked group of running backs, 20-1 is a smart bet for Montgomery. Cohen has not had more than 100 carries in either of his first two seasons, and with the arrival of Montgomery and Davis, among others, that likely will not change. Howard ran the ball 250 times in 2018, and his absence will free up a lot of touches for the two new backs, who are both more traditional power runners than Cohen.
There’s a chance Montgomery may not start off the year as the lead back in their committee, but he projects as a starter at some point in the season. He figures to be an intriguing bet for Offensive Rookie of the Year with his given odds.