Rookie Spotlight: David Montgomery, Iowa State
Height: 5’10’’ (official)
Weight: 222 lbs (official)
Hands: 9 1/4” (official)
Arm: 31 3/8” (official)
40 yard dash: 4.68 (Combine), 4.59 (Pro Day)
NFL Comparison: Rashaad Penny, Kareem Hunt, Rueben Droughns
– elite contact balance
– good open field vision
– stops and starts on a dime
-bounces outside too often
-lacks second level speed
Scouting Notes: Montgomery just doesn’t go down, at least not on first contact. He’s not small, but he’s compact and low to the ground, and the fact that he’s a solid 222 lbs makes it even more difficult to knock him off his feet. His balance is almost cat-like, so he can take a hit without faltering, and he can administer one as well with his low pad position while running. Montgomery sees the field well, often making one cut before he jaunts up the field and around those who might try to stop him – and with decent burst.
His second level speed leaves much to be desired, but his aforementioned knack for staying upright helps to mitigate what he lacks there. He can also stop, change direction, and resume his course of action in a blink, so he doesn’t lose a lot of ground. Montgomery does tend to bounce his runs outside too often, and he’s not always fast enough to beat his defenders to the corner. If he wants to be a 3-down back, he’s going to have to keep it inside more often. That being said, there’s a lot more to like about Montgomery than to dislike. He’s a big back with the shitfiness of a smaller back, which is a perfect combo for staying on the field.
Fantasy Outlook: Montgomery is probably going to come at a discount as a lesser known back from a relatively small program, but he’s going to pay dividends. He reminds me a lot of Kareem Hunt, as they’re both pinball type players who explode out of the backfield and bounce around off their defenders. He’s bigger than Hunt though, and has room to grow. He’s got top-5 rookie back value and needs to be drafted as such in dynasty formats. Depending on where he lands, especially if there’s a short path to start, he could be a mid to late-round redraft pickup too.
Quotes from the Combine:
How has this experience been?
The experience to me has been an amazing experience. Simply comingfrom where I come from in Cincinnati Ohio, most people don’t get the opportunity to get here or this far. I’m just trying to embrace every experience and everything that’s happening here and actually enjoying there process as well. It’s been a great experience.
How tough was the decision to declare?
It was definitely a difficult decision because a lot went into play with it as far as my team and my family and most importantly God. It was a difficult decision but I was able to check the checkboxes I had for myself as far on how I felt declaring and going to the next level. I felt like I made the right decision.
How did you make the decision to declare?
The biggest thing for me was making sure God has given me the OK first. He gave me the OK. Another big thing was if my team thought it was a good thing to do. I definitely leaned on those guys as far as what they actually thought if it Was a good idea and they were behind me every step of the way. I’m blessed and favored.
Is there one thing you feel you need to work on?
That’s a good question. I don’t have an answer for that. Definitely, every app, every thing, every drill I have I’m going to do it full tilt with everything I have with the best of my ability.
What do you need to do on the 40?
Just run. The time is going to be what the time is going to be, so just going to have fun with it, go run and have fun playing ball.
On meeting with teams?
The experience with that has been bar none the best experience I’ve had here. Being able to show teams the kind of guy I am and how my character is on and off the field. I met with a lot of teams, I don’t have an exact number but I definitely met with a lot of teams and the experience has been a great experience being able to showcase myself.
I haven’t really gotten much feedback. It’s really just all — I really haven’t got much feedback. I’ve been taking it day by day and handling it as much as I can handle.
What’s life been like since you declared?
Life has been the same for me as far as ever since I declared, from before then until now. Just being able to take it in a business manner and understanding that this is very important to me, my life and my family. I kind of approach everything the same way, just to attack it with a clear mindset knowing that if I give my best effort I’ll be OK.
What’s it going to mean to go to the NFL?
It will mean a lot, just being able to give kids back home hope to understand that it’s possible. You’ve just got to have the right mindset and you can’t live to the standards that everybody creates for you. You’ve got to create your own. I was able to create my own and still creating my own trying to live out my dream and give kids back home hope. Definitely it’s big and it means a lot.
Surprised more kids from Cincinnati aren’t in the NFL?
Yes, I am very surprised. Very surprised. Sometimes you just live with what you have. That’s what we do in Cincinnati, we just try to claw and scratch at what we can get at. We have a couple guys starting to squirt out of Cincinnati. It’s a blessing to be able to see those kinds of guys and it’s a blessing for me to actually be here myself, one of the few that are doing great.
Leaving Iowa State?
I think Iowa State, I love my school. They’d be fine, regardless of what happened, whether I’d stayed or whether I went. I definitely have a big trust in those guys and I understand as far as what they’re going to do, you guys should be on the lookout for that. You know, we’ve got great guys there. Definitely it’s good to see guys leaving Iowa State early. It shows where they’ve been and where they are now. Having guys like me and Hakeem (Butler) and all the other seniors that are trying to make their mark at the next level is definitely big for the program.
How Coach Campbell recruited him?
Yeah, coach Campbell didn’t really have a pitch. His pitch was, you’re going to come to Iowa State or not. At that point it was up to me and right now I sit and
think about it, it was the best decision I’ve made in my life.
Could you imagine this three years ago?
I actually didn’t. I didn’t know if it would happen at all. I really made sure that I put all my faith and energy into God and I understood whatever happened He would work it out for me. I never worried or had any type of complaints in that fashion or in that area, but I knew I was going to be taken care of. I’m here for a reason and I’m supposed to be here, whether it was this year, next year. It’s right now and I’m taking in the whole experience.
Where has your most development taken place?
The growth has definitely been exceptional for me, as far what I thought I would grow on, what I wanted to grow on as far as my mentality, my physical growth, being able to just get better in that sense as far maturing and understanding that everything takes time and you have to be patient with a lot of things.
How did you get out of Big 10 country?
That’s a good question. I don’t know the answer to it. I was that heavily recruited out of high school, and Iowa State took a shot on me and I’m just living with it.
Is there a chip on your shoulder?
I wouldn’t say that’s the sole reason why I have a chip on my shoulder. I’ve had a chip on my shoulder my whole life because of what I came from. Was it a part of it? Yeah, for sure. That was OK, but it has definitely made me into the man I am today.
How are you presenting yourself to teams?
I don’t really have a sales pitch. I would just always know to be myself. Go in there and be me. At the end of the day that’s what they’re getting is me, whoever decides to pick me. Just going in there, being myself, being grateful and blessed for the opportunity and making sure that I’m taking the full experience and definitely enjoying the process.
Did you grow up a fan of any running back?
Yeah, I definitely grew up, definitely patterned my game on a lot of Barry Sanders. I love Eric Dickerson. I love Walter Payton. Just those guys, those few guys, how they run, as far as being shifty, being able to shake people, being able to run through people. I tried to pattern my game off those guys, definitely legends who led the way for me.
Those are old school guys?
Definitely had to pull up some YouTube. My grandfather, he has old clips, cassette tapes. Definitely tried to get involved with that, seeing what kind of talent that came through and guys that went down in history that I plan on being like.
On making his decision with Iowa State coaches?
I won’t speak to much on what coach Campbell said, but everything he said was positive in that nature. It was good things that I heard. I’m just enjoying the experience.
What’s the main questions NFL teams ask?
I don’t really get a main question. I get all kinds of questions, so kind of you like you guys asking questions. I just answer.
Soft spot for kids?
My mom loves kids. I grew up around kids and my brothers and stuff. I have a young brother, that’s my baby boy. Just even like the situation with Hunter, that’s something that was sent from God for me. God sent me something to do, a task to handle and it turned into something way bigger than that. Just to be able to be bless with that young man and that little boy to be there is definitely a blessing in my heart and my hands and I’m definitely grateful.
Have you talked to Hunter this week?
Just saying he’s praying for me, good luck and asked me did I have an Iowa State jersey for him still.
High school workout the best some had ever seen?
Yeah, I do remember it. I never knew coach Campbell said it was the best one he’d ever seen, but it was a fun day. It was a fun day. I definitely enjoyed being out on the field, doing what I love doing and kind of showcasing myself as far as what kind of player I was, what kind of player I wanted to be.
What do you tell people when they say your stats might be inflated because the Big 12 is a no-defense league?
I just laugh, but I don’t really say anything. Just keep it pushing.
What makes you so hard to bring down?
That’s a good question. I’m not usually tackling myself. I just go out there and run the ball. That’s what I do. It’s my occupation, and I enjoy doing it.
Where does your vision come from, just something you develop over time?
I don’t know. I guess it’s just a god-given ability. A lot of us here have it. Every running back here has vision. If they didn’t they wouldn’t be here. It’s in all of us. We just use it in different ways. We just see different things. All of us are blessed with vision, it’s just what we decide to do with it.
Iowa State is going to have a big running back room next year. What are your thoughts on Jirehl Brock and Breece Hall?
They’ll be studs for the longevity of their career at Iowa State. You’ve still got guys like Kene Nwangwu, you got Johnnie Lang, you got Sheldon Croney. Those guys are studs in my eyes as far as their mentality and how they carry themselves every day. Those guys are high in character. They have fun with everything. Those guys are super talented. I’ve never anybody as fast as Kene. I haven’t seen anybody as patient as Sheldon. I haven’t seen anybody as quick as Johnnie. I’m sure the younger guys that come in will be studs, but they’ll definitely learn from those older guys as I learned from those guys as well. I think the running back room will be one of the best in the country, if not the best.
You and Kene came in together and they called you slash and dash. What’s he like as a RB?
He’s a flash I guess you could say. You see him one minute and the next minute you don’t. He’s hilarious. He’s like my yin and yang. I’m yin, he’s yang. Being able
to have that kind of guy to balance out me and my game, and me balance out his game, it’s hard to find. Kene, you’ll be seeing a lot of him.
You hear about running backs only having so many good years in their bodies in the NFL. How much did that factor into your decision to come out early?
It didn’t factor a lot to me. It really didn’t factor at all. Because regardless of when I’m playing or where I’m playing, you can hurt on any play. You can get hurt from not playing. Injuries happen. Do they occur? Yes. But that didn’t play a big role in my decision. You can hurt in whatever you do. You just want to tread
lightly and be smart.
What can Hakeem Butler bring to an NFL team?
He’s a freak show to me. You can’t teach that length. You can’t teach what he can do on the field. He can bring a lot to a team. Whoever gets him, they’ll be getting a good one. Me being able to play with a guy whose attitude and how he went out there and how confident he was every day, bringing that aura to the field and the team definitely was one of the best I’ve seen. Whoever gets him, they’ll get a good one.
Whether it’s you or Hakeem, how will it feel to finally give Iowa State another draft pick for the first time since 2014?
It’ll feel great. But you just have to wait until it happens, before you say anything. You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow. You want to take every day as serious as possible and take it one day at a time and control what you can control and just enjoy the process. Everybody can’t do this. Everybody didn’t get invited to the Combine. So I’m blessed and I’m sure he is, too.
What’s it mean to be here considering your childhood and all you’ve overcome?
This has always been a dream for me for 16 years, for a dream being imagined for me. There’s been so many people in my life telling me I wouldn’t be able to get here and telling me I couldn’t do it. I just kind of look and smile. I thank God. I’m just like, ‘I’m here now.’ I’m actually doing what I said I’d do.
Was it hard to tune out those people?
Nah. It wasn’t hard for me. Words don’t hurt me, they fuel me.
What was your impression of Doug Peterson as a head coach?
He was a great coach. He knew what he wanted to say. Very comfortable. Just to be behind that and hearing how he talks, it was definitely cool.
What is the most important skill you’ll bring to an NFL team?
I don’t know. I think I’ll just bring all of the skills that I have. I don’t know which one is the best. I’m just going to go out there and compete and and have fun and get better every day.
With your ability as a receiver and pass blocker, do you think your three-down ability sets you apart from some other guys?
I think all of these guys can pass protect and catch and run the ball. That’s officially what we’re all here for. All these guys in this class are good. They’re second to none. There’s definitely some talent in this class. Our class is not looked at as the best, but we definitely have some gems in here. I’m definitely excited to see what will happen here in the future, see how guys will pan out and see where guys are years from now.
How much of the training you did in Florida leading up to this was focused on shaving a little time off your 40?
A lot of it. But it was really around a whole workout as far as what I needed to work on here. How I was stretching, how I was sleeping, how I was getting treatment on my body to make sure I stay fresh. The 40 definitely played a large role, but it wasn’t the main key. But it was big.
What do you think of the job Matt Campbell’s done?
He’s done an amazing job. Being able to go to a school that was used to being 3-9 or being 1-11 or whatever the record was, he definitely changed the whole thing there as a coach. The standard was definitely raised when he got there. You’re either forced to live by the standard or you have to get out. Guys understood that. When I got there I understood. Coach Campbell has done a superb job and definitely helped me to get to where I am today.He’s a great human being. He cares about his players.
Is he capable of being an NFL head coach one day?
Who knows. He’s a great coach regardless of where he is, whether he’s coaching pee wee or the Pro Bowl. Who knows. Coach Campbell is a great coach overall. What he brings to the table is rare. And to be able to have a guy leading the forces at Iowa State like that, I was blessed to have him and I’m sure the guys there are blessed to have him there now.
What was it like to see coach Manning come back?
Coach Manning was a guru. Very, very highly intelligent as far as he looked at things and how things sorted out. He definitely made it easier for us to figure out. To see that he was coming back was definitely cool to see. He’s going back to some of the guys he coached a year or two ago. They’re still there. Just being able to see him come back and be able to get back in line with the Iowa State guys is definitely a fun thing to see.
Not a lot of ISU players get a chance to be drafted. What was the reaction of the fan base to your decision to leave early?
I say we have the best fans in the nation. Those fans support you though everything. The fans that we had at Iowa State, when we were losing they were there and when we were winning they were there. Loyal sons forever and true, and it definitely reads exactly how it sounds.
Brian Peavy isn’t here, but how good is he and can he play for an NFL team?
Brian Peavy is actually another freak if you ask me. Just the way he carries himself as far as personally, how he is, what kind of human he is. He’s a great human being. He treats everybody with the utmost respect. To be able to be around a guy like that and see his athletic ability actually play a role into his personal life, yeah he’s definitely an NFL corner in my eyes. Will he have success? Yes he will. He takes everything serious and he makes sure he gives all glory to God.
You don’t get here without being a competitor. What’s the competition like between all of you RBs to see who the first one drafted will be?
Who knows. No one’s been drafted yet.
But you can feel the competition between you guys as you go through the steps of the Combine?
Not really. We’re all good to each other. We’re all friends. We understand that this is what it is. We enjoy each other. We want the best for each other. I just met these guys, but these guys are out to do the same thing I’m doing. It’s just working hard and trying to get their shot. There’s definitely some great guys in this class and I’m just blessed to be standing on the same podium as those guys.
What would you think about playing with league MVP Patrick Mahomes?
I feel great. But I feel great playing with anybody. I feel great playing in the NFL. It will definitely be cool if I were granted the opportunity to play with him and I’d definitely have fun with that. I’m going to have fun with everything I’m doing.
Have you thought about what that moment will be like when you do hear your name in the draft and you look into your mom’s eyes?
I’ve definitely thought about the moment. But I can’t feel the moment because I’ve never been in it. I’m just taking it one step at a time and enjoying every day and enjoying the whole process.
First-Team All-American by Pro Football Focus … First-Team All-Big 12 by the AP and ESPN and a second-team choice by the Coaches … Second-Team Academic All-Big 12 … Jason Witten Man of the Year semifinalist … Doak Walker Award watch list … Co-Captain … fourth player in school history to earn All-America honors in multiple seasons … one of the best running backs nationally for the second-straight season, starting 11 of 12 games played … ranked third in the Big 12 and 23rd nationally in rushing yards per game (101.3) … broke the 1,000-yard rushing barrier for the second consecutive year (1,216), becoming the eighth Cyclone with multiple 1,000-yard seasons … his 1,216 yards ranks 12th on ISU’s season list… had seven 100-yard rushing games, tying for third on ISU’s season list, and 13 rushing touchdowns, tying for second in the Big 12 and ninth on ISU’s season list … led the nation in forced missed tackles according to Pro Football Focus for the second-straight year (99) … caught 22 passes for 157 yards … had a streak of four-straight 100-yard rushing games, tying for the fifth-best string in school history … had one lost fumble in 279 touches … successful on 5-of-6 fourth-down conversion chances … ran for 82 yards and a touchdown vs. Oklahoma … registered first 100-yard game of the year vs. Akron with 107 yards … recorded 101 yards and a touchdown vs. TCU … missed the Oklahoma State game with a shoulder injury … against West Virginia, battered the Mountaineers with a career-high 189 rushing yards and a touchdown … had two rushing touchdowns and 125 yards on the ground vs. Texas Tech … rushed for 149 yards, averaged 7.8 yards per carry and tied his career best with three rushing touchdowns vs. Kansas State … had 147 yards on the ground vs. Drake … rushed for 124 yards and a touchdown vs. Washington State in the Alamo Bowl … also had a career-long 53-yard catch vs. the Cougars … ends career with 2,925 rushing yards (sixth in ISU history), 26 rushing touchdowns (eighth in ISU history), 15 100-yard rushing games (third in ISU history) and 3,507 all-purpose yards (sixth in ISU history) … his 71 career receptions ranks fifth all-time by an ISU running back.