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Debating the ‘Value’ Of David Montgomery

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Debating the ‘Value’ Of David Montgomery

212bf710fe9dfd56c9762bf769cdf891?s=16&d= Andrew Dannehy | May 7th, 2019

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Shortly after the 2019 NFL Draft, the Ryan Pace detractors were at it again, claiming the Bears GM “wasted” a pick by trading up to grab Iowa State running back David Montgomery.

The attacks, made by noted Pace-hater Bill Barnwell (among others), are more about Pace’s selection philosophy than his actual selections. Writers often like to live in a dream world where draft picks are more valuable than actually having quality players. Oh, and none of those picks should be used on a running back!

GMs live in the real world. They realize they have to acquire good players and can’t sit back and wait for life to happen to them. That is part of the reason why Phil Emery is a scout for the Falcons, not GM of the Bears. Of course, we shouldn’t expect Barnwell to understand that.

The case of Montgomery was especially delicious to critics because a running back many of them liked more — Alabama’s Damien Harris — went with Chicago’s original pick, 87 overall, to the New England Patriots. Why move up 14 spots to draft a worse player? Well, it’s pretty simple really: they liked Montgomery more. A lot more.

Montgomery and Harris tested almost identically, with the former being a little heavier and faster in 20-yard spurts, while the latter has a higher vertical jump. But for the Bears there was one huge difference: Montgomery’s wingspan is nearly five inches longer than Harris. That means Mitch Trubisky’s margin of error will increase by five inches on every pass attempt and Trubisky will be passing to Montgomery often.

Montgomery also possesses short area quickness that Harris doesn’t. Although Harris certainly has more burst, the ability to make defenders miss in space is going to be key in this offense. Too often in 2018 the Bears had players tackled with blockers in front of them.

While many members of the media and Draft Twitter like to sell their scouting reports as the be-all end-all, the reality is the guys actually making the decisions are the only ones who know exactly what they’re looking for. The Bears don’t just think Montgomery is better than Harris, they don’t think it is close.

The fact the Bears were willing to give up a 2020 fourth rounder to make sure they got their guy is a strong indicator of how often he’ll be used. While Matt Nagy likes to talk about a running back by committee, this investment tells us Montgomery will be The Guy. And at 222 pounds, he should be able to hold up.

There is also the critique of running back value. But smart teams have still invested in the position. The Patriots drafted Sony Michel in the first round in 2018, before taking Harris in 2019. Seattle drafted Rashaad Penny in the first round in 2018, the Saints used a third rounder on Alvin Kamara while they had former first rounder Mark Ingram on his second contract. The Rams took Darrell Henderson three picks before the Bears drafted Montgomery, despite having Todd Gurley. Then, of course, there’s the Eagles. They drafted Miles Sanders with the 53rd pick a month after trading a sixth rounder for Jordan Howard, who they’ll have to pay $2 million.

Running backs may not be extremely valuable, but smart teams seem to be making sure they have good players at that position. The Bears just did what smart teams have been doing.

It’s easy to be an armchair GM. Some have said that Pace’s aggressiveness will cost him in the future, even though the Bears are expected to have seven picks in 2020 and have a full slate every year going forward. It’s true that the Bears will need to replenish their roster, but comp picks should help them do just that.  And, while his nature is to be aggressive, Pace has also shown a willingness to move down. He did that twice in 2016 and still came away with Cody Whitehair.

If Montgomery is good the question won’t be why the Bears gave up an additional pick to get him, it’ll be why other teams didn’t draft him before Chicago could. And with Pace’s history, there’s reason to believe that is how it will play out.

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Two paragraphs really stand out to me.

2 minutes ago, soulman said:

The attacks, made by noted Pace-hater Bill Barnwell (among others), are more about Pace’s selection philosophy than his actual selections. Writers often like to live in a dream world where draft picks are more valuable than actually having quality players. Oh, and none of those picks should be used on a running back!

First, who in the hell is Bill Barnwell and if he's such a keen judge of talent why isn't he an NFL GM or at the very least the single most respected draft guru on the planet? 

3 minutes ago, soulman said:

GMs live in the real world. They realize they have to acquire good players and can’t sit back and wait for life to happen to them. That is part of the reason why Phil Emery is a scout for the Falcons, not GM of the Bears. Of course, we shouldn’t expect Barnwell to understand that.

Jeezus thank you Lord!  I could not believe Phil Emery as a GM for a 4-3 team first passed on Chandler Jones a true 4-3 DE for Shea McClellin and then next year allowed Aaron Donald the best 3 tech DT in a decade to get scooped up a pick or two before him.  Phil has balls the size of early June peas and a brain to match.

Between that hire and John Fox IMHO Ted Phillips should be banned from all future personnel decisions except to simply smile and  agree with whatever Ryan Pace suggests.  Just write the checks Teddy.  You're good at that.

Pace has traded up in front of the NYG and gotten a very good OLB who may finally be ready for a true breakout season, he got players like Nick Kwiatkoski and Tarik Cohen by trading up, he got his franchise QB by trading up, and this year he gets a top RB in round three who was ranked a round higher and a very good Slot CB prospect trading back.

Last I checked we went 12-4 last year and are among the favorites to reach the Super Bowl this year.

What's Bill Barnwell's coaching record?

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This is ludicrous. We should strive to evaluate arguments based on their merits, not based on the arguer.

I could understand if this guy made a case involving factual evidence, but most of his advocacy for the pick relies on speculation. The factual evidence he does provide (e.g. wingspan) is head-scratching and doesn't do any service to Montgomery. If the writer wanted to make a case for Montgomery against Harris and a case for the trade, he could have pointed to Montgomery's unique skillset and passing game value.

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, soulman said:

But for the Bears there was one huge difference: Montgomery’s wingspan is nearly five inches longer than Harris. That means Mitch Trubisky’s margin of error will increase by five inches on every pass attempt and Trubisky will be passing to Montgomery often.

Montgomery also possesses short area quickness that Harris doesn’t. Although Harris certainly has more burst, the ability to make defenders miss in space is going to be key in this offense.

 

7 hours ago, abstract_thought said:

f the writer wanted to make a case for Montgomery against Harris and a case for the trade, he could have pointed to Montgomery's unique skillset and passing game value.

I think he did although he may have chosen a very poor way to do it by emphasizing his wing span vs Monty's obvious skills running routes and good hands. Dannehy is letting his issue with Barnwell get to him but I believe his criticism of his thinking in the two paragraphs I singled out is spot on.

As for their skills as a RB Monty scored much higher on elusiveness and toughness between the tackles and if continue to feature an inside zone scheme he's the better back in this offense.  He also never coughs up the football which to me is huge.  It was a good pick and the right pick.

IMHO Montgomery will have a more prosperous career in Chicago than Harris will in NE.

Edited by soulman

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Wow. The Bears hate is multiplying exponentially among the specific media detractors. Montgomery is arguably the best back in the last draft, by any number of rational criteria. 

Jacobs has a better chance of being a bust than Montgomery (IMHO, obviously) based on Jacobs line, and relative things of that nature. Even if you don't buy into that argument--how is Montgomery NOT top three? 

More nonsense that won't be dispelled until the Bears win the Super Bowl, which will thankfully be soon. 

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6 hours ago, soulman said:

 

I think he did although he may have chose a very poor way to do it by emphasizing his wing span vs Monty's obvious skills running routes and good hands. Dannehy is letting his issue with Barnwell get to him but I believe his criticism of his thinking in the two paragraphs I singled out is spot on.

As for their skills as a RB Monty scored much higher on elusiveness and toughness between the tackles and if continue to feature an inside zone scheme he's the better back in this offense.  He also never coughs up the football which to me is huge.  It was a good pick and the right pick.

IMHO Montgomery will have a more prosperous career in Chicago than Harris will in NE.

His criticism of Barnwell is unsound and borders on hyperbole. I'd like to see a more thoughtful breakdown which shows the success rate of trade-ups. Instead we got weird appeals to failed GMs and personal criticism of a writer without any sound refutation of his arguments.

Emery didn't fail because he didn't take risks. He failed because he was a terrible evaluator of talent and because he picked terrible coaches. Similarly, Pace won't succeed or fail due to his tendency to trade up for specific players but instead for his talent evaluation.

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Just looked him up.  He's ESPN so whatever he writes can quickly be ignored and discarded.  The fact that the Bears are winning again and actually have personality has to be driving all of those Least Coast NY and NE media type crazy.

He can criticize trade ups all he wants but ours are playing out quite well whereas the Giants had to trade OBJ and then draft a QB 6th overall some teams wanted to convert to a TE.  Guess when you run out of negatives to write about the locals you have to branch out.

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3 minutes ago, abstract_thought said:

His criticism of Barnwell is unsound and borders on hyperbole. I'd like to see a more thoughtful breakdown which shows the success rate of trade-ups. Instead we got weird appeals to failed GMs and personal criticism of a writer without any sound refutation of his arguments.

Emery didn't fail because he didn't take risks. He failed because he was a terrible evaluator of talent and because he picked terrible coaches. Similarly, Pace won't succeed or fail due to his tendency to trade up for specific players but instead for his talent evaluation.

That's not how Dannehy typically writes. Jonathan Wood is the guy who does all of the statistical analysis on that site.

Personally I think he and every other Bears Blogger should just ignore anything anyone from ESPN writes.  We seldom get a fair shake from them and even if they do compliment Pace it's gonna be a left hand compliment.

The failure to be more aggressive on Emery's part I was referring to was his decision not to trade up a few spots for Aaron Donald which he could easily have done.  But I agree, he was also a poor talent evaluator which leads me to wonder why anyone still pays him to scout.

Hiring Trestman was just one more example of his arrogance and need to be different but all he ever ended up doing was outsmarting himself.  Out of all of the possible candidates for GM I'm not sure we could have hired anyone who was worse than Phil Emery.

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22 hours ago, soulman said:

Just looked him up.  He's ESPN so whatever he writes can quickly be ignored and discarded.  The fact that the Bears are winning again and actually have personality has to be driving all of those Least Coast NY and NE media type crazy.

He can criticize trade ups all he wants but ours are playing out quite well whereas the Giants had to trade OBJ and then draft a QB 6th overall some teams wanted to convert to a TE.  Guess when you run out of negatives to write about the locals you have to branch out.

He's a Trubisky hater. Everything he's doing, anti-Bears, flows from that. 

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4 minutes ago, Heinz D. said:

He's a Trubisky hater. Everything he's doing, anti-Bears, flows from that. 

Meaning...he can't stand being proven wrong...

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25 minutes ago, Heinz D. said:

Meaning...he can't stand being proven wrong...

Seems like it or at least regarding Mitch and Pace's decision to trade up on spot to insure his pick.

What I see and believe is Mahomes is a QB who after a year as Smith's understudy peaked very rapidly playing in system built by a legendary QB guru.  If Mahomes is not with KC playing for Reid but rather had to play as a rookie with a lesser rebuilding team what then?

Mitch is a kid who not only needed a few years to fully develop his game but he realizes it and he's relentless in his path to become one of the best.  So instead of looking at just two years of history let's see where they both are in year five.  Then we'll know for certain.

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10 hours ago, soulman said:

Seems like it or at least regarding Mitch and Pace's decision to trade up on spot to insure his pick.

What I see and believe is Mahomes is a QB who after a year as Smith's understudy peaked very rapidly playing in system built by a legendary QB guru.  If Mahomes is not with KC playing for Reid but rather had to play as a rookie with a lesser rebuilding team what then?

Mitch is a kid who not only needed a few years to fully develop his game but he realizes it and he's relentless in his path to become one of the best.  So instead of looking at just two years of history let's see where they both are in year five.  Then we'll know for certain.

Hill, Hunt, and Kelce made that job really simple.  Last year Nagy said the difference between Mitch and Patrick was the 1 year experience in the system.  People asked me if I would trade Tru for Mahomes straight up and I said no, bc we dont know what the results would have been had the situations been reversed.  What Mahommes would be if he spent his first year with Fox and just got Nagy last year.  We'll know a lot more about what both guys are this year when Mahommes goes thru the whole season w/o Hill or Hunt and Tru gets to start the year knowing where the bones are buried in the offense w/a full set of weapons and a run game that isnt a hindrance to the passing game.

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On 5/7/2019 at 2:13 PM, soulman said:

hat means Mitch Trubisky’s margin of error will increase by five inches on every pass attempt and Trubisky will be passing to Montgomery often.

That’s not the only thing that’s going to increase by 5 inches every time Trubisky passes to Montgomery 

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You're that excited about this are you?

Then I'd suggest you put away the Zubaz stretch pants and go for the looser fitting version.

cbearssspants.jpg

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Day 3 picks are easily recouped. I am never going to lose my mind about losing them. If Pace wants to use those picks to ensure better top end players in the draft I am okay with that.

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