The 2014 campaign was not the All-World type of season that many predicted Ty Montgomery would have before the year began. One of the more electrifying receivers in this draft class entering his senior year, he’s had a few bumps and bruises that seem to linger more than most, leaving some scouts to wonder if he has the “thick skin” needed to toughen up and play through minor dings.
Called a Dez Bryant type, the Cardinal receiver did not show that aggressive nature combating for jump balls in 2014 that he did in the past. He is a physical blocker with nimble footwork and explosive acceleration, but is not as well-versed as a route runner as advertised. Still, he has the leg drive to break arm tackles, but for a player of his size and speed, using him on underneath routes this year wasted his talent level.
The 2013 consensus All-American became only the third player in school history to gain over 2,000 all-purpose yards (2,208 last year) and just the second Cardinal to amass over 1,000 yards via kickoff returns (second in the nation with 1,091 yards and a 30.3-yard average). He scored fourteen times, twice on reverses, two more times on returns and hauled in over one-third of the team’s receptions (61) that produced ten more touchdowns.
This season, he failed to reach 100 yards receiving in any game, yet, he led the team with 61 receptions, but for only a 9.9-yard average. He gained 144 yards on 23 carries, averaged 25.2 yards on 17 kickoff returns and 19.8 yards on 12 punt ru nbacks. He is a physical blocker with nimble footwork and explosive acceleration. He’s well-versed as a route runner, but has had his most success on vertical routes. He has the leg drive to break arm tackles, but for a player of his size and speed, using him on underneath routes this year wasted his talent level.
That adequate season, coupled with whispers regarding his penchant for lingering with minor bruises could see him slip all the way into the fourth or fifth round picture, a far fall for a player once touted as the best senior receiver in this draft prior to the 2014 season and was called a certain first round pick then.
Montgomery has a well developed frame with good quickness and balance, but his rock-solid frame makes him appear much more suited for running chores than pass catching duties. He has the arm length, upper body strength and solid muscle development to defeat the press and a tight midsection and hips. He has a good bubble, tapered thighs and even has some room left on his frame for additional growth.
Montgomery shows good quickness and a burst of speed in his play. He is a quick-handed receiver with good body control, change-of-direction agility and explosion in his RAC, but must be more alert to situations on the field, as he tends to run right into spots, resulting in him being tackled for losses six times and had four other catches where he was stopped for no gain.
The Cardinal displays very good athletic ability on the field, especially on special teams, but must do a better job of protecting the ball, as all three of his fumbles last season led to the opponent eventually scoring from those turnovers. A well-built athlete, he has lacks blazing speed, but accelerates nicely with his compact stride, which allows him to generate burst on the move, evident by his success returning kicks for touchdowns. He shows very good balance, hip snap and torso flexibility.
Even with his running back-sized frame, Montgomery shows good quickness, strength and hand usage to get off the snap and into his patterns. He might lack blazing speed, but compensates with good hip snap, balance and foot work in his route (still needs to execute crisper breaks, though). He has a smooth and fluid release off the line of scrimmage and is able to beat press coverage. He has the power to push through the jam with no hold-ups. He also shows the ability to be elusive at the line and consistently escapes to get into his routes.
Montgomery has displayed very good vertical acceleration on deep routes. He has enough body control to get open and adjust quickly to the short throws and uncover. He does not have great timed speed, but does show the extra gear needed to get to the ball and run away from the slower defenders. He gets a good push working up field and while he does rely more on his athletic ability, he is working on running more precise routes.
The Cardinal receiver needs to generate sharper cuts on intermediate routes and run with little gather in and out of his breaks, but is showing improvement. He has the ability to use his frame when shielding defenders and is becoming a nice threat with his aggressive running style, as he has the balance to take the quick slants and turn up field without breaking stride.
Montgomery has a decent short area burst to gain separation after pulling in the slants or screens. He is starting to develop the eyes needed to locate the soft spots in the zone. He sees the ball in flight and shows the body flexibility and vision to look the ball in. He is able to generate better acceleration working in the short-to-intermediate areas.
The senior he has the ability to separate from defenders with his burst. He seems quicker into his cuts rather than out, but is effective either way. He needs to do a better job with his hand placement, as his arms drop some just before his break point, but that hitch is easily correctable.
Montgomery has great torso flexibility. He can adjust to off-target throws or settling down in the zone. He extends and plucks the pass at the high point with good effectiveness, but mysteriously lost more jump ball battles than he won last year (defenders batted away 14 targeted throws). He has shown flashes of being able to adjust to high and low balls well, displaying that superb leaping ability that made him one of the top returners in the country before his recent injury issues. He has to do a better job of controlling his body to catch, as he only has adequate drift.
Montgomery displays good hands, as he is not really a body catcher, but will use his frame at times to absorb the ball (leads to more than a few drops of easy throws). He has the ability to extend with his hands, but will still trap the ball some. On returns, he shows very good hand/eye coordination with placement, but must protect the sphere better as he had fumble issues last season.
He likes to compete for jump balls, especially when he knows he will have to attack it with defenders draped all over him, but his timing was off last season, leading to a high amount of tosses batted away from him (14). He has the scoop-and-reach ability to make the shoe-string grab and has only fumbled once on 188 returns, proving he has valid ball security skills.
Montgomery’s experience on the special teams came in handy when generating blocking skills as a receiver. He is aggressive stalking second level defenders and works hard to impact the opponent along the edge to spring the ball carrier for positive yardage.
Ty Montgomery Scouting Combine measurables
6-0/221 (4.55 forty)
31-inch arm length
40.5-inch vertical jump
121-inch broad jump
6.97 3 cone drill
4.21 20 yard shuttle
Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.
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