Editor's note: Landing spot and age are the two most important variables when it comes to drafting a fantasy running back in our opinion. However, talent matters as well. This series aims to show you what a running back could do at the next level. How he can be used, what systems he fits in, can he catch, and more.
To sum Montgomery up. He's a magician in the open field with his lateral movement to elude defenders. He also has good balance to keep his feet under him after contact. He's a good pass catcher and could be an excellent screen pass back at NFL level.
His biggest weakness is his initial burst. He doesn't accelerate quickly through the hole which means faster NFL defenders closing the gap on him too often. He wouldn't work well in a gap system. But he's an ideal zone-blocking runner. Plus his pass catching ability makes him versatile. He could line up in the slot for some teams like Christian McCaffrey in Carolina.
Let's look at some clips that illustrate these points.
Good pass catcher
This is one of the areas where Montgomery really excels. He has soft hands, gets up field quickly and can make defenders miss.
The NFL is a passing league and running backs have to have this trait to be productive now a days.
Here's a pass where he showcases this ability.
Notice how he catches the ball behind him but is already turning to recognize the defender. This allows him to make his first lateral move before the defender has a chance to get set. Then he plants his foot and makes the safety miss. This kind of elusiveness in the open field is what could make him a great PPR fantasy back.
Here's another example below. In this clip, Montgomery runs a crossing route. This type of route is one you could see him excelling at in the NFL. When he catches the ball in space, he can use his lateral movement to string multiple moves together. Here you see him plant his foot in the ground to elude a linebacker. Then cut up field and spin off to elude another defender.
Here's a pass he caught against Oklahoma St. It's kind of a flashy catch and he obviously won't have to make this catch very often. But it's good to know he has the ability.
Notice how with this catch with a defender draped on him. Shows great concentration to reel it in with one hand and uses his balance to stay on his feet through the tackle.
Montgomery can also be used in the slot as you'll see in this next clip.
This year's running back class as a whole is not very fast.
Montgomery, like several other top backs in this group, didn't show out at the combine in terms of speed. His 4.63 40 time illustrates that. This will be a question mark for him at the NFL level. Does he have enough burst to get to the hole quick enough before the defenders collapse on him.
Despite his speed concerns, Montgomery really excels in the passing game. He caught 71 passes for 582 yards while at Iowa State. After the catch, he gets up field quick and makes guys miss.
If he finds himself on a team with an accurate quarterback, Montgomery could be a solid contributor early on. Landing spot is key though. But if a good team drafts him, he's worth taking a flier on in redraft leagues.