Bears trade up to draft RB Montgomery

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The Bears bolstered their backfield by trading up in the third round of the draft to select Iowa State running back David Montgomery with the 73rd pick.

The Bears moved up 14 spots, dealing the No. 87 pick and selections in the fifth round this year (No. 162) and fourth round next year to the Patriots in exchange for the No. 73 pick and a sixth-round selection (No. 205).

“His name was high on our board,” said general manager Ryan Pace. “We wanted to ensure that we could get him. We didn’t have any kind of intel [like], ‘Hey, we need to go now.’ It wasn’t like that. It was, ‘Let’s make sure we get this player that we all have conviction on.”

Montgomery declared for the draft following his junior season. He played in 37 games the past three seasons at Iowa State, rushing for 2,925 yards and 26 touchdowns on 624 carries and catching 71 passes for 582 yards. Last year he appeared in 12 games, rushing for a career-high 1,216 yards and 13 TDs on 257 attempts and had 22 receptions for 157 yards.

According to Pro Football Focus, Montgomery led the nation in forced missed tackles each of the past two years with 109 in 2017 and 100 in 2018.

“David Montgomery breaks a ton of tackles,” Pace said. “There are guys bouncing off him left and right. A lot of guys can break tackles, but then they’ll lose their balance. He has the ability to break tackles and keep his feet continue for positive yards.”

Montgomery ranks third in Iowa State history with 15 100-yard rushing games; sixth with 2,925 rushing yards and 3,507 all-purpose yards; and eighth with 26 rushing touchdowns. His 71 receptions are the fifth most all-time by a Cyclones running back.

In selecting Montgomery, the Bears continued to revamp their backfield. Earlier this offseason, they signed two free agents in running back Mike Davis and receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, who has carried the ball out of the backfield; and traded Jordan Howard to the Eagles.

Running backs Montgomery, Davis and Tarik Cohen all figure to play key roles on the Bears offense this season.

“We envision a scenario where they’re all contributing in different areas,” Pace said. “We feel good about that room now, really good about that room. They all bring a little bit of different things to the table. [Coach] Matt [Nagy] and I were just talking about it; the different things we can do with all the backs in that room.”

Pace has now traded up six times in the last four drafts to acquire outside linebacker Leonard Floyd in the first round and linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski in the fourth round in 2016; quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in the first round and safety Eddie Jackson in the fourth round in 2017; receiver Anthony Miller in the second round in 2018 and Montgomery in the third round this year.

Asked about including a pick in next year’s draft to land Montgomery, Pace said: “We don’t take that lightly. We operate very responsible with that. It just depends on the magnitude of the player. For us, Matt and I say it, ‘No regrets.’ If we see something, we identify something and we have consensus on it, then we’re going to make it happen.

“[Montgomery] checks all the boxes for us not only as a player but the person that he is. The draft really fell in our favor tonight.”

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