Name: David Montgomery
SCHOOL: Iowa State
CONFERENCE: Big 12
POSITION: Running Back
JERSEY: No. 32
RECRUITMENT RATING: 3-star
WT: 216 lbs
Vision –Can be prone to looking for play-side bounces to the strong side, where backside cuts may provide him with more room. Often presses too quickly and works into the back of his blockers. Stunts his own momentum prematurely when he’s forced to read the POA.
Feet/Change of Direction –Has ability to string his cuts together with effectiveness and shows admirable ability to collect his momentum through one cut and into the next. Does not have a lot of explosion or burst through his cuts, however and can miss holes as a result.
Durability –Grinder. Really tenacious effort to push up the field, through contact and re-establish his forward push for extra yards. Is a “wear you out” type of back who thrives with high volume and workload. No issues with injury throughout his college career.
Balance –Has some of the most unbelievable reps in collecting himself off of contact. Runs with a very low center of gravity and shows urgency through the box to stay ready for contact. Aggression to attack tacklers in one on one situations aids his efforts to stay upright.
Pass Protection –Sturdy. Big, low set hips allow him to coil and convert into contact as a means of putting off a challenge from free runners off the second level. Good effort to step up into the interior gaps and ensure he’s afforded his passer with extra space.
Elusiveness –Slippery and illustrates excellent contact balance. Has eaten tackle challenges in his grill and sustained his balance to work for extra yardage. Pretty fluid in his lateral cuts and knows how to diminish his surface area to absorb blows and wiggle free of tacklers.
Receiving Ability –Soft hands. Was targeted quite frequently in delayed crossing routes and shows good snap out of his vertical stem to break free against LBs. Was schemed some quick targets with motion to create him touches in space.
Short Yardage Skill –Can typically be relied upon in “have to have it” short yardage plays to make the first arriving defender miss and ensure he’s falling forward. Runs the feet hard and shows really good lower body strength to uproot a tackler and push the pile.
Football Intelligence –Has struggled to find a lot of room to run throughout course of college career, poor offensive front may have impact on his feel for patience behind the LOS. Has polished supplementary skills in pass pro and in receiving reps out of the backfield.
Effort –Has set the tone in games with his aggressive rushing. Will physically challenge defenders in the box and isn’t one to let his motor die out as the game presses onward. Really like his effort in reps where he doesn’t touch the ball, gives equal effort on all fronts.
BEST TRAIT – Contact Balance
WORST TRAIT – Vision
BEST FILM – Washington State (2018)
WORST FILM – Iowa (2018)
RED FLAGS – None
David Montgomery is an attractive fit in a gap/power rushing offense. Montgomery has some burst restrictions that make him a difficult projection for zone concepts that prevent him from getting quickly into the hole. Montgomery has elite balance and toughness at first contact, cutting out the read of the point of attack can help him be more effective pressing into the second level. Montgomery is an effective pass protector and has some admirable 3rd down skills as well.
PROS: Outstanding contact balance. Runs through defenders with churning legs to pick up yards after and through contact. Can drop his pads and run over smaller defenders. Sturdy, stout NFL build for a workhorse running back. Strength throughout his frame. Often takes multiple defenders to bring him down. Surprisingly good lateral mover who can find creases. Patient runner behind the line of scrimmage with an obvious second gear to burst through holes. Solid elusiveness in open space. Does a good job of cutting back and running to green grass in the open field. Hard cuts. Lines up all around the formation and has shown the ability to run routes surprisingly well. Keeps potential tacklers away with a strong stiff arm. Picks up dirty yards, low compact runner who is relentless.
CONS: Occasionally shaky hands in the pass game. Can have lapses in vision and will try to bounce plays when not necessary to do so. Running style could lead to durability issues. A solid amount of runs for a loss. Doesn’t have the top-end breakaway speed when he gets behind defensive backs.
Vision – Has a wonderfully creative instinct as a zone runner who keeps his wits about him and is always looking to manipulate defenders and create space. Curiously, more interested often in strong side/play side bounces than in weak side bounces, though that tendency works better for his physical traits. Struggles on power concepts to find skinny gaps and will collision the back of his offensive linemen accordingly. Sometimes needs to just take what is blocked and call it a day.
Burst – Only average in this area. When working weak side and trying to win the corner and get to the second level, is often caught or at least collisioned by pursuit, which limits his ability to create breakaway runs on the outside. Has good lateral explosiveness when working on zone flow, but straight line burst is disappointingly lacking; is not a candidate for quick vertical concepts accordingly.
Change of Direction – Silly body control and footwork illustrate some really thrilling reps, but physical profile has some limitations. Can cut his momentum on a dime and work upfield against aggressive backside flow. Uses short stride length well. Can string together multiple cuts and gather his weight at odd angles to the ground. Lateral agility is good, but broken tackles are more a result of withstanding contact than actually avoiding it.
Power – Doesn’t necessarily have a “hit stick” when coming to contact head on, but has a bowling-ball frame and tremendously thick base as a runner. Always comes into contact low, hot, and with the intent to knock someone’s teeth out. Can drag tacklers or straight up run through second and third level defenders with excellent leg drive and natural leverage.
2nd Level Speed – Lacks the long strides and natural speed to hit home runs at the NFL level. Most of his explosive plays at the college level came as a result of his contact balance, full-field vision, and dogged effort to break multiple tackles and continue downfield. Is not a candidate for space/gadget touches.
Contact Balance – Stupid silly contact balance. Just bonkers. Seemingly elastic at the onset of contact with the ability to retain balance through hits he never saw coming, from very odd angles, by players much heavier than he is. Body control and angles into contact can only be explained through unteachable instinct. Trait is well-expressed through play style, as Montgomery is a dogged, fight-for-every-yard rusher that football heads will find appealing.
Decision-Making – Is too interested in breaking structure and needs to become more willing to take what he’s given. Generally makes sound reads on zone flow and has a great feel for when to slice upfield, but tendency to play with urgency will get him too far upfield and force him into cutback situations. Tremendous instinct in the open field to find the best space, however, and maximize yardage.
Pass Catching – Lined up out wide and ran routes from the backfield alike. Has modeled strong hands through contact and away from his frame, and has run a decently complex route tree. Shows the foot speed and route running chops to separate from linebackers on option routes and work into space. A strong candidate for screen touches given strength operating against flow.
Pass Protection – Offers a strong profile here. Big bowling ball frame with great size in the lower half to withstand contact and deliver a shot. Willing to accelerate into contact and meet power with power with great degree of aggression for a running back. Effective at reading from inside to outside and seems to ID rushers pre-snap with good degrees of success.
BEST TRAIT – Contact Balance
WORST TRAIT – 2nd Level Speed
RED FLAGS – None
PLAYER COMPARISON – Thomas Rawls
David Montgomery has a truly elite trait in his contact balance, but trading on that ability alone won’t be enough at the next level. Montgomery’s current profile of strong lateral cuts, excellent footwork and contact balance, and the demeanor to finish make him a strong candidate for teams that like to work their running backs into space with heavy zone flow.
As it stands now, Montgomery will get suckered into space/bounces a little too often, and struggles to find skinny gaps between the trees on power-blocking concepts. Even when he finds the correct hole, he lacks the vertical explosiveness profile to regularly cash in and break through the second level. Montgomery needs defenses to be flowing east-west to cutback against them and find success as a runner.
Montgomery also boasts of a strong pass-catching and pass-blocking profile, which boosts his stock — but as it stands, Montgomery’s lack of a homerun-hitting profile illustrate the need to pair him with a back with better physical tools in a 1A/1B distribution of touches.