With Super Bowl LIII officially in the books, it is time to turn our attention towards this years' rookie class. Although it is still early, there are a few players who already look like they will make a name for themselves early and often on not only an NFL roster but your dynasty roster as well. One of those players who should be drafted early this coming draft season is none other than Iowa State running back David Montgomery.
Coming out of Cincinnati, Ohio, David Montgomery was a relatively unknown running back. Grading as a two-star recruit on Rivals, Montgomery only garnered five collegiate offers before ultimately settling on Iowa State. However, he did not let this hinder him from producing early and often for the Cyclones. In 2016, as a true freshman, Montgomery led the team in rushing with 563 yards. He later went on to become an honorable mention on the freshman All-American Team. From 2017 on, Montgomery saw his stats soar as he became a three-down back.
At the NFL Combine Montgomery measured in at 5'10'' 222. Over the course of his three years at Ames, Montgomery has used every bit of said size to his advantage, racking up a massive workload for the Cyclones. Montgomery finished his career for Iowa State amassing 624 carries for 2,925 yards - good for 4.69 yards per carry, while racking up 26 total touchdowns. He also showed an innate ability to catch the ball, collecting 71 receptions for 582 yards. Despite this huge workload, Montgomery only fumbled the ball three times on 695 career touches. That's a fumble rate of less than one percent.
While watching tape on Montgomery, it is easy to see why he became such a heavily talked about prospect following his 2017 season. The first thing I noticed about Montgomery was just how hard of a time defenders had at bringing him down. Rarely did he ever go down on first contact, and sometimes even third or fourth contact. In the clip below, Montgomery showcases his size and power to throw a defender to the ground; ultimately it takes two defenders to get him to the ground.
This was not the only time Montgomery broke multiple tackles on his way to an impressive run. In his three years playing for Iowa State, he made a name for himself with his ability to shed defenders with ease. In 2017 he set the NCAA record for forced missed tackles previously held by Dalvin Cook with 104. To give some context to this number, check out the graphic below that includes a few high profile players.
One of the ways he was able to accomplish this was with his superb contact balance. Take a look at this next clip where Montgomery is able to keep his footing and turn a tackle for a loss into a first down.
Montgomery isn't just a one-trick pony with an ability to shed tackles. He also shows excellent vision to be able to find the cutback lanes. Take a look at this next clip where Montgomery bounces an inside handoff to the outside before ultimately cutting back inside on his way to a monster gain.
While being able to show the traits of a great ball carrier is important, being able to show you can be a receiver out of the backfield is equally crucial. This might be one of the best parts of Montgomery's game. Repeatedly, Montgomery shows soft hands out of the backfield routinely catching balls with his hands and not his body. He's also dangerous after the catch with the ball in his hands as seen in the video below.
As most any prospect though, Montgomery does have some flaws in his game. He does not show the burst and long speed in his game that you would like to see out of a first or second round runningback. Time and again I watched Montgomery get tackled from behind to ruin a long touchdown run. As a point of reference, in his three years art Iowa State, Montgomery has never had a run to crack 60 yards. Take a look at the video below as just one example of this.
After watching tape on David Montgomery, it is easy to see why he is such a talked about prospect. Time and again, Montgomery's power and elusiveness are evident in his game tape. Rarely if ever does one defender ever bring him to the ground on the first try. Not only does Montgomery show power when he runs, but he also has the vision to be able to find cutback lanes and make great plays out of nothing. Lastly, He shows an innate ability to be a dangerous threat out of the backfield. In this day and age when most of the leagues we play in are PPR, this is where Montgomery will make his money. As previously mentioned, the one thing that makes me wary of Montgomery is his burst and explosiveness. On more than one occasion, I watched defenders chase Montgomery down from behind and ruin a long touchdown run. His 40-yard dash time did not help to relieve any of this fears either, as he clocked in at 4.63 seconds. Overall, Montgomery looks the part of a three-down back in the NFL, and one who will make a difference early and often. Give strong consideration to using an early draft pick on David Montgomery this upcoming draft season.