Cynthia Frelund, an analytics expert for the NFL Network, chose running back David Montgomery as the Bears’ most underappreciated player.
Frelund used various calculations and metrics, along with players’ salaries, to determine the most underappreciated player on each team.
After finishing the 2021 season with PFF’s 22nd-ranked unit, Chicago let starters James Daniels and Jason Peters walk, replacing them with journeymen Julie’n Davenport and Dakota Dozier. I will be watching this situation closely to help forecast Montgomery’s fantasy value. However, his real-world value is in part shown by computer vision metrics that indicate how much contact a back deals with. Not only was Montgomery contacted before getting to top speed at the third-highest rate last season, but he also faced multiple hits on the fifth-highest percentage of rushes and runs after the catch. And yet, he managed to haul in 82.4 percent of the passes thrown to him in 2021 (with a catch rate of 78.6 percent for his career). In other words, if the O-line can step up, Montgomery could soar.
Montgomery was on track to become one of the NFL’s top running backs after his breakout sophomore season. In 2020, Montgomery rushed for 1,070 yards in 15 games while also catching 54 passes for 438 yards. He scored 10 total touchdowns in 2020.
The former Iowa State standout, however, was slowed down in 2021 due to a knee injury that forced him to miss four games. Montgomery was one of the leading rushers in the NFL at the time of his injury. Despite the missed time, Montgomery still finished the season with 849 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns.
If you extrapolate Montgomery’s numbers from last season over a full 17-game season, he would’ve rushed for 1,110 yards and nine touchdowns. He also would’ve caught 55 passes for 394 yards.
Montgomery should be a big part of the Bears’ offense in 2022. And since Chicago doesn’t have a lot of weapons, he could get his heaviest workload yet, which could mean his biggest season so far in the NFL.
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