David Montgomery got his running style from his grandfather’s videotape collection.
“I did watch Walter Payton when I was younger,” the Iowa State running back said. “Seeing how he ran and trying to correlate a lot of the ways he ran into my game.”
Montgomery’s slashing style — with a knack for finding a crease and shaking tackles — enticed the Bears to trade up 14 spots Friday and pick him in the third round.
It was a vintage Ryan Pace move — and the third time in five years the Bears’ general manager has traded up for his first choice of the draft. Pace gave the Patriots his third-rounder (No. 87 overall), Saturday’s fifth-rounder (162) and a fourth-round pick in 2020. The Bears got the No. 73 pick, which they used on Montgomery, and the Patriots’ sixth-rounder (205).
“No regrets,” Pace said.
Pace undoubtedly feared he’d miss out on the run of running backs. The Bears picked Montgomery three spots after the Rams took Memphis’ Darrell Henderson — whom Pace said the team liked — and one spot before the Bills selected FAU’s Devin Singletary.
“We wanted to ensure that we could get him,” Pace said.
Montgomery fits the versatility that coach Matt Nagy demands in his running backs — and that Jordan Howard lacked. While Montgomery could be the Bears’ Week 1 starter, Pace stressed a committee approach. He and Nagy were -already dreaming of what they could do with their -running backs.
“They all bring a little bit of different things to the table,” Nagy said.
Before leaving Iowa State after his junior year, the 5-10, 222-pounder totaled 624 college carries for 2,925 yards and 26 touchdowns. He caught 71 career passes for 582 yards — and credited his time catching shotgun snaps as a high school quarterback for his soft hands.
Montgomery posted Pro Football Focus’ highest grade of the running back draft class. Per PFF, he’s the only player since 2014 to break more than 100 tackles in a single season — and he did it twice.
He has drawn comparisons to Browns running back Kareem Hunt, whom the Chiefs took with the 86th pick two years ago. Hunt was the same height as Montgomery and only five pounds lighter than him. They share a coach — Matt Campbell left Toledo, where Hunt played, for ISU.
Under Nagy, Hunt was the NFL’s leading rusher in 2017 before being suspended last year after a domestic violence videotape surfaced.
“Obviously, there’s some coaching parallels there with him,” Pace said. “You start with the instincts and the contact balance. David Montgomery breaks a ton of tackles. I mean, he’s just the kind of guy … there’s 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 detailed four strengths of his game.
“My ability and my motor not to go down,” he said. “Being able to make people miss. Being able to catch the ball.”
Pace flew to the Alamo Bowl to watch -Montgomery in his final college game. The Bears met with him at the NFL Scouting Combine, where the running back was somewhat disappointed by his 4.63-second 40-yard dash, and then invited him to one of the team’s 30 official visits at Halas Hall.