Passing up on more immediate needs – most notably at inside linebacker – the Packers used the No. 94 overall pick to select Ty Montgomery, a dynamic player who might look a little like a guy the Packers just re-signed this offseason for $40 million.
“To me, personally,” began Packers West Coast scout Sam Seale, “I think he’s a bigger Randall (Cobb).”
Packers fans might remember the short, but stout Cobb (5-10, 192 pounds) making a huge impact on special teams as a rookie in 2011 before blossoming into one of the NFL’s top slot receivers and a threat out of the backfield, too. Montgomery (6-0, 221) has a four-year career at Stanford that suggests he could project to that type of player as well.
Among winning numerous awards as an all-purpose performer, Montgomery was part of a strong Cardinal program as one of the school’s best-ever kick returners. On offense, all he did was line up as an outside receiver, a slot receiver, a tailback and as a wildcat quarterback at times. Even with a running back-sized frame, league scouts believe he can be a Pro Bowl return specialist.
“I really do believe he can come in here with special teams and really help us, really elevate our special teams his first year and press the people that’s in front of him,” said Seale.
Montgomery may have been a higher pick had he come out after his junior season in 2013. That was his best all-around statistically with 61 catches, 958 receiving yards, and 10 touchdowns in 14 games (12 starts). He also averaged 30.3 yards per kick return on 36 returns (two touchdowns) and rushed 13 times for 159 yards. His 2,208 all-purpose yards were third best in school history.
But his senior season failed to match up. He had just three receiving touchdowns. His kick return average dipped to 25.2. And his yards per catch went from 15.7 to 9.9.
“I don’t think there’s a clear answer to that,” said Montgomery about his drastic drop in yards per catch. “I don’t think that there’s anything that I did wrong. I caught a lot more balls behind the line of scrimmage and near the line of scrimmage and had to get yards after the catch, make more guys miss, not make as many plays down field. That’s one thing I think about – not as many opportunities down the field.”
Montgomery added that he was used differently in the offense than the season before. Seale, who followed Montgomery since his freshmen season since his son, Ricky, also played for Stanford, saw some other challenges for Montgomery in 2014.
“I felt like their quarterback (Kevin Hogan) didn’t have a good year,” said Seale. “I thought that was the problem. And then he missed the last two games of the season (with a shoulder injury). But other than that they were going through a lot of changes and they didn’t really run the ball like they usually do.”
Strangely, Montgomery’s inflated height while at Stanford (listed at 6-2) may have changed the way prospective pro teams looked at him. Several told him in the evaluation process that they had him pegged as a running back. At the Scouting Combine, he measured in at just under 6 feet.
But like Cobb, that hardly seemed to matter for the Packers, who jumped on Montgomery in the third round even with their top three receivers returning and two 2014 draft picks set to launch.
“We’ve got an offensive head coach,” said Packers general manager Ted Thompson. “Seriously, the game is that sort of game. Since I’ve been here, Brett Favre’s been the quarterback or Aaron Rodgers. So you’d like to get them as many people to throw to as you can.
“(Montgomery’s) a very strong runner, very instinctive, has good quickness – all the things you look for. I think the key thing is his strength level is better than most.”
Though Montgomery’s body type would suggest he fit naturally as a slot receiver, Seale would not necessarily peg him as such noting that at Stanford “he lined up all over the field.”
Sounds kind of like No. 18 in green and gold.
“Wow, that is very flattering,” responded Montgomery when told Seale called him a bigger Cobb. “(But) I haven’t played a down in the NFL. I’m just going to try to live up to being the best Ty Montgomery I can be for the Green Bay Packers. I’m still just kind of speechless about it. But it’s very flattering and that makes me happy to hear but I just need to be the best Ty Montgomery I can be.”