The Green Bay Packers certainly weren’t in any kind of desperate need of adding weapons to Aaron Rodgers’ arsenal, but rookie third-round pick wide receiver Ty Montgomery looks like he will be able to add more juice to what might be the NFL’s best offense.
Montgomery was a surprise pick in the third round for Green Bay, not only because wide receiver wasn’t a need, but because he wasn’t expected to go that high according to most “draft experts”. Heading into his senior season Montgomery going in the third round or higher would not have been a surprise whatsoever, but a disappointing senior season plagued by inconsistencies and dropped passes and a poor 40-yard dash at the NFL combine (4.55) for a receiver of his size that most likely will be a slot guy sent him tumbling down a lot of draft boards.
However, Ted Thompson is not afraid to take a player anywhere in the draft and it has been a key to his success. He struck gold with Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson and James Jones at wide receiver when he took them higher than many thought they would go. Thompson and the Packers scouts also figured that injuries and poor quarterback play at Stanford last season held Montgomery back. Also, Montgomery’s speed on game film looked faster than his 40-yard dash time.
Coming from Stanford Montgomery’s teammates in Green Bay have lauded his study habits and his willingness to ask good questions. The first major battle for rookies is learning the playbook and it sounds like Montgomery’s smarts have helped him in that regard. In the first padded practice of camp on Saturday Montgomery took that to the field and made some splash plays. Montgomery took a reverse out of the backfield around the edge and made a gain. Also, he made a leaping catch over another rookie who is impressing everybody, LaDarius Gunter, that caught everybody’s attention.
Montgomery is going to give Mike McCarthy another versatile toy to play with. It looks like he will be used all over the field and will be featured in the backfield quite a bit. At 221 pounds, Montgomery has the build like a running back to take the bigger shots coming from out of the backfield, even though he only stands six-feet tall. He was at his best at Stanford when the ball was in his hands whether that was returning kicks or gaining yards after the catch on quick screens.
Realistically, it will be tough for Montgomery to get a ton of targets on offense, but defenses will still have to account for where he is just like they do with Randall Cobb. Where Montgomery will be able to make the biggest difference early is on kick returns. The Packers were 31st in the NFL in average yards per kickoff return (19.1). DuJuan Harris provided little explosion back there and the blocking was less than good as well. Montgomery is Stanford’s all-time leader in kickoff return yards, had three kickoff return touchdowns in his college career and led all qualified FBS kickoff returners in kick return average in 2013.
Rookies are always counted on in Green Bay and this year will be no different with zero key free agent acquisitions. All 11 starters return on offense, but Montgomery could add yet another dimension to the potent Green Bay offense that probably will have many opposing defensive coordinators not being able to sleep at night.