Predicting Ty Montgomery's New Role in the Packers Offense
As a former second-round pick out of Stanford, Ty Montgomery failed to find the field consistently as a wide receiver early in his career, but a transition to running back saw him take over as the Packers' lead back for a decent period of time. Unfortunately, Montgomery's 2017 was derailed by injuries and he failed to make an impact after a promising first couple of weeks.
At 215 lbs, Montgomery has the acceptable size to handle a between-the-tackles workload in the NFL. Despite not having much experience at the position, Montgomery proved in 2016 that he can get the job done. Montgomery's 6.7 Yards Per Touch in 2016 was the 6th best in the league. Also, he was incredibly elusive with a 34.7% Juke Rate, which measures evaded tackles on a per touch basis, that ranked 3rd in the league.
With the sudden emergence of Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, Ty Montgomery's carries will surely decrease in 2018. However, given Montgomery's versatile skill-set, I think he'll find his niche as the Packers' utility player.
Basically, I think Montgomery will line up all over the field. It could be in the slot, it could be out of the backfield, and we should see a lot of Montgomery in motion.
When I think of utility players, Cordarrelle Patterson, Tavon Austin, and a rookie-year Tyreek Hill instantly come to mind. The obvious common denominator between those three guys is blazing speed, and that's where my concerns for Montgomery begin to creep in. Between Patterson, Austin, and Hill, their average 40-time is a 4.37. Ty Montgomery ran a much slower 4.55 at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Speed doesn't mean everything, but it obviously gives a player an advantage on the football field. On the bright side, Montgomery's 129.4 Burst Score, which is a metric that equally weights a player's vertical and broad jump to measure explosiveness, ranks in the 91st percentile of NFL running backs. Montgomery isn't terribly unathletic, but the lack of straight-line speed could be a disadvantage to him if he is indeed playing that utility role.
New Packers OC Joe Philbin should be able to conjure up new ways to get Montgomery the ball this season, but we'll have to wait for Training Camp and the preseason to get a true indication of what Montgomery's role is in 2018.