It’s been a whole week since the Chicago Bears traded up on Day 2 of the 2019 NFL Draft to select David Montgomery out of Iowa State to become the Bears’ running back of the future.
Chicago swapped third round picks and sent two other picks to New England to jump the Buffalo Bills and grab their guy. Montgomery is an excellent runner, pass catcher, and overall fit in Matt Nagy’s offense.
The Bears finished the draft by selecting WR Riley Ridley, CB Duke Shelley, RB/KR Kerrith Whyte, and DB Stephen Denmark, and received high praise from draft experts everywhere.
We opened up our Bears Mailbag, post-draft edition, this week and received plenty of questions. Let’s reach in — and thank you to everyone who participated!
This is a tough question to answer. Montgomery was one of my favorite running backs (and players) in this draft, and the Bears did very well to get him in the third round, though it took a trade up to ensure that. However, getting Riley Ridley in the fourth round was TREMENDOUS value. I had not watched much of Ridley before the draft, but I turned on the tape shortly after his name was called. Let me say: I am impressed. While he doesn’t have a ton of speed, he’s a fantastic route runner and catches everything. The Bears have a crowded wide receiver room (more on that coming up), but snagging Ridley is a win for this team.
When it comes to the UDFAs, WR Emanuel Hall is an obvious choice. He was pegged as one of the best receivers in this class and was graded as a second/third round prospect by many. Imagine the Bears’ surprise when he chose to sign with them despite their crowded room. He has excellent speed and could be absolutely lethal in Nagy’s offense. I look forward to the Bears’ competition at receiver during training camp and the preseason. Chicago will have some tough decisions to make after the locks make the roster (Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Ridley). Hall, Javon Wims, and Marvin Hall will be battling with potentially others.
I will say this, though, regarding some of my other favorite additions from Draft weekend: Keep an eye on Kerrith Whyte and Mathieu Betts.
Whyte has home-run speed, and while he may not get a ton of snaps on offense in 2019 due to the talent the Bears now have at RB, he’s another weapon on special teams. The Bears are loaded at returner now, with Whyte, Patterson, and Tarik Cohen all options to return kicks and punts.
Betts is an interesting player. He was drafted third overall in the 2019 Canadian Football League draft, but chose to sign an UDFA contract with the Bears. He is fun to watch on tape. He has an intriguing arsenal of pass-rushing moves and plenty of speed. He’s even been lightly compared to former Green Bay pass rusher Clay Matthews. Yes, the same Matthews who terrorized Bears’ QBs for the last decade. If Betts can even be half that good, the Bears will have themselves a gem.
What’s the point of the Denmark pick? — Rose M.
The Bears took a flier on a massive cornerback from Valdosta State in Stephen Denmark with their final pick in the draft (late seventh round). This kid is enormous, measuring at 6’3″ and 220 lbs. He’s a former receiver and an elite athlete with not-so-elite coverage ability on the limited tape I’ve watched of him. He is extremely raw, but he is also one of those freaks of nature that’s absolutely worth a project at that point in the draft.
It’s possible that safety would be a better position for him given his size and tackling ability, but at the very least he can come in and contribute on special teams. Don’t get me wrong — Denmark is not going to see the field defensively in 2019. But the Bears’ coaches are probably already dreaming about the ways in which they’ll mold him to be a contributor in the future.
What does Montgomery mean for Mike Davis? — Luke N.
I don’t think it means anything in particular. I don’t think it’s any secret that the Bears were still determined to bring in a starting-caliber running back in the draft. The Bears signed Davis with Jordan Howard still on the roster, and once Howard was traded to Philadelphia, the plan only became more obvious.
Nagy’s offense doesn’t require a bell-cow like Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley, or Le’Veon Bell — though I certainly expect Montgomery to quickly seize a majority of the touches from the backfield given his skillset. But the Bears always intended to utilize multiple running backs in their scheme, so Tarik Cohen and Davis were always going to be heavy contributors.
Keep in mind, the Bears (purposely) gave Taquan Mizzell multiple, critical carries last season. The Bears are basically replacing Mizzell’s carries with Davis’ carries. That’s a good thing.
Is a Robbie Gould reunion still a possibility? — Dave B.
The Bears have twenty bajillion kickers scheduled to come to various camps and compete for the Bears’ job that Cody Parkey just vacated. And Gould doesn’t have a lot of leverage with the San Francisco 49ers at the moment in his quest to play for another team. So I’d say the chances are slim.
But if we know our beloved Ryan Pace like we think we do, he’s probably cooking something up.