David Montgomery 2019 NFL Draft Prospect Profile Scouting Report
More so than any other running back (other than the undraftable Elijah Holyfield), David Montgomery did himself no favors at the NFL Combine. Before the combine, it was assumed that either Montgomery or Josh Jacobs would be the top running back selected in the NFL Draft. Montgomery was productive, could catch passes, had a good narrative and seemed to be a favorite of NFL scouts. Unfortunately, his performance at the NFL combine moved him more towards the middle of an underwhelming class of running backs.
David Montgomery was not fast, had a one-percentile vertical leap and declined to do the agility drills because they likely would not have been kind to him. Similar to Devin Singletary, Montgomery was a highly productive prospect who really let his backers down at the NFL combine.
Montgomery was lightly recruited but actually lead Iowa State in rushing his freshmen year while splitting work with Mike Warren and quarterback Joel Lanning. I’ve mentioned it with wide receivers several times throughout these prospect profiles but it is a positive indicator for a true freshman running back to get significant work. Passing the 25% workload threshold is an indicator of future NFL success. The next two seasons at Iowa State, he had lines of 258-1146-11 and 257-1216-13. While he was unable to top five yards per carry (#NotGreat) he did catch 36 and 22 passes as a sophomore and junior. He also set the record at Pro Football Focus for most broken tackles in a single season in NCAA football while having one of the best Elusive Ratings in their database.
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The most complimentary thing you can say about Montgomery’s rushing style is that he is truly a grinder. He breaks tackles and smaller players who attempt to arm tackle him really do not have a chance. He has solid balance that allows him to shirk contact and get to the 2nd level but the burst concerns are pretty real. Very rarely when you are watching his highlight reel or cutups will you see plays that truly grabs the attention. He is a banger running back who offers soft enough hands to play on third downs when need be. Thor Nystrom maybe summed it up best when he wrote “(Montgomery’s) A+ contact balance is so important: Montgomery doesn’t have natural explosion to the hole, so he’s found the perfect blend of defense mechanisms to compensate by opening up alternative opportunities with his eyes and second/third/fourth opportunities with his power and shake.” I tend to agree with Thor’s verdict: David Montgomery is a very good NFL running back prospect who is just not quite athletic enough to be a first-round NFL draft pick.
David Montgomery Final Verdict
Whichever team drafts David Montgomery will likely get a bargain. While #RunningBacksDontMatter, having running backs who can hit league average in success rate at a low salary cap hit are valuable. If David Montgomery goes in the second or third round of the NFL Draft, he will be making an affordable wage for four seasons. He’ll likely start out in the bottom end of a timeshare regardless of which team drafts him but his multi-use skillset of power running and pass catching should carve out more playing time. For dynasty fantasy football purposes, I will be fairly draft slot-reliant on valuation for him because I do not think he is the sort of eye-popping prospect that will demand a starting job early on.
If the Carolina Panthers wanted to add a solid complement to Christian McCafferey and to take some off of Cam Newton’s plate in short yardage, Montgomery makes a ton of sense. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers swung and missed with Ronald Jones last year under a different coaching staff. I would think they likely want to move on from Jones to a player that can actually catch passes and bang between the tackles; Montgomery can do both.
2019 NFL Draft Prospect Profiles: