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ATM: As the Combine Begins, Some Players & Positions to Watch

| February 26th, 2019

Here are a few players and positions to watch at the 2019 NFL combine, which begins today in Indianapolis:

Players

David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State

The popular comparison for Montgomery has been Kareem Hunt, but there’s one major issue when I watch Montgomery: speed.

Montgomery backers are quick to point out that Hunt only ran a 4.62 40-yard dash, but I’ve never watched Hunt and thought he looked slow whereas Montgomery’s lack of burst is clear. He’s even gotten caught from behind a few times.

The Iowa State star’s game is breaking tackles, but it’s a heck of a lot easier to break tackles in the Big 12 than in the NFL. If he’s clocking in the 4.7s in the 40-yard dash and his vertical jump is in the low-30s, it’s a clear sign that he doesn’t just look slow, he is slow.

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Rodney Anderson, RB, Oklahoma

Anderson tore his ACL early in the season so it’ll be interesting to see if he’s able to do all of the drills.

Even if he isn’t, Bears fans should keep an ear (or eye) for reports on his medical condition. Anderson has had several major injuries in college but is clearly a Round 1 talent. Although they’re different positions, Anderson’s story isn’t unlike  that of Eddie Jackson.


Positions

Tight Ends

Because of where the Bears picks are, it’s hard to pinpoint an exact prospect here.

If a player like Jace Sternberger runs really fast, there’s a good chance he’ll be gone before the Bears even pick. Other players like Isaac Nauta (Georgia) and Dawson Knox (Ole Miss) could be in the discussion in Rounds 3 or 4 if they have adequate workouts.

Tight end is a position where we always see a player get on the map with a good workout. The Bears need another tight end who can run and it seems like there could be a few of those in the draft.


Safeties

Ryan Pace has hit on two safeties late in the draft and he could be eyeing a third.

With Adrian Amos possibly leaving as a free agent, Deon Bush will presumably be inserted into the starting lineup, which means the Bears will have to replace Bush on the depth chart.

Outside of DeAndre Houston-Carson, the Bears have primarily drafted athletic safeties. The combine is a good place to find some potential prospects.


Interior O-Line

In their most recent First Draft podcast, Mel Kiper and Todd McShay agreed that rounds 3-5 are going to be a sweet spot for teams needing interior offensive line help.

On the surface it doesn’t seem that would include the Bears, having the trio of James Daniels, Cody Whitehair and Kyle Long. But Long is due a lot of money and simply can’t be relied upon anymore. Even if the Bears keep Long, he hasn’t played even 50% of the team’s snaps in three years. The Bears need someone who can replace Long — whether that be now or later — or, at the very least, fill in when Long can’t play.

How high the Bears take an offensive lineman depends on whether or not they’re planning on bringing Long back next year. Generally, Pace has preferred athletic offensive linemen which Nagy needs to run his scheme. The combine should give us a good baseline as to which players fit the mold.

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