Bears running back David Montgomery was a great football player at Iowa State. But—according to a former Cyclones teammate—the 2019 third-round draft pick was even more impressive off the field.
"David's a good buddy of mine," Iowa State long-snapper Steven Wirtel said last week at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. "I could go on and on about who he is and his leadership qualities. His leadership qualities and his traits off the field are really contagious."
Iowa State coach Matt Campbell has credited Montgomery with helping to revive the Cyclones football program, due in part to a relentless work ethic. Montgomery ran drills and lifted weights at night and on weekends and soon had several teammates join him.
"I know that coach Campbell has addressed it before that David's a guy who on Friday and Saturday wasn't your typical college student," Wirtel said. "He was in that facility working out and it shows on Sundays.
"I think David is going to have a lot of success in Chicago. He's a workhorse, and I love that kid a lot. He's such a good kid. Anytime you're around him, the energy in the room is always positive. I'm excited for him and I wish him nothing but the best."
Working with Juan: Michigan left tackle Jon Runyan told reporters at the Combine that he enjoyed working with new Bears offensive line coach Juan Castillo last year in Ann Arbor.
Castillo spent 2019 as an analyst on coach Jim Harbaugh's staff with the Wolverines.
"Juan's meant everything to me," Runyan said. "He got to Michigan around this time last year and he set these workouts and we'd go out on the field and go through it. He taught us how to watch film, watch tape and how to prepare for opponents. Juan was really instrumental to my technique this year."
Castillo was Eagles offensive line coach when Runyan's father, also named Jon, played for the Eagles from 2000-08. The younger Runyan would welcome the opportunity to rejoin Castillo with the Bears.
"I remember growing up with Juan," Runyan said. "He's known me ever since I was a little kid. Having it come full circle with him coaching my dad and coaching me for a year and possibly being able to coach me at the Chicago Bears is really awesome."
Extra meaning: Defensive lineman Malcolm Roach did not wear No. 32 at Texas to honor former Longhorns and Bears running back Cedric Benson, who passed away last Aug. 17 in a motorcycle accident.
But Roach revealed that "it did have a lot of extra meaning wearing it this year because he was such a big part of Texas being a Longhorn legend."
Benson, who wore No. 32 at Texas and with the Bears, won the Doak Walker Award as the nation's best running back as a senior at Texas in 2004 and ended his college career ranked sixth all-time in NCAA Division I-A history in rushing with 5,540 yards.
NFL comparisons: Jordan Reid of The Draft Network compares two of the edge rushers in this year's draft to current and former Bears players.
Notre Dame's Julian Okwara reminds Reid of outside linebacker Leonard Floyd.
"Okwara's length, bend and up the field burst are his top traits, but many are waiting for him to take that next step in his development," Reid wrote. "This is where Leonard Floyd comes in. They have a similar body structure and developmental pathway. Okwara could be a prospect that turns out to be a better pro player than what he showed during his three-year career with the Fighting Irish, but scheme fit coupled with a proven talent developer will be vital to his career."
Reid also sees similarities between former Bears defensive end Julius Peppers and Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young, who is considered one of the top players in the draft.
"Young will enter the league with monumental expectations," Reid wrote. "Julius Peppers is one of the best defensive ends to ever play the game, and that will be the type of hype Young will be expected to live up to … with somewhat similar size and traits, Young has the potential to have the same type of impact as Peppers had."