LAKE FOREST, Ill. — The Chicago Bears addressed one of their biggest needs with their first pick in the draft, taking Iowa State running back David Montgomery in the third round after trading up with the New England Patriots on Friday night.
Chicago moved up 14 spots to grab Montgomery at No. 73 overall, making him the first Cyclones player drafted since 2014. The 5-foot-10, 222-pound Montgomery ran for 2,925 yards and 26 touchdowns in three seasons. He had 1,216 yards rushing and 13 TDs as a junior.
Chicago also got a sixth-round pick (205), while New England got the No. 87 pick and a fifth-rounder (162) this year as well as a fourth-round selection in 2020.
The Bears had a long wait with no picks in the first two rounds. They came into the draft in a far different spot after winning the NFC North at 12-4 in coach Matt Nagy’s first season. The Monsters of the Midway ended a string of four straight last-place finishes and made the playoffs for just the second time since the 2006 team’s Super Bowl run.
They sent their first-round pick this year to Oakland in the blockbuster deal for All-Pro edge rusher Khalil Mack just before the start of last season. And they dealt their second-rounder to New England, when they traded up to get receiver Anthony Miller in the second round last year.
That the Bears went with a running back was hardly a surprise. They had an opening after they traded Jordan Howard to Philadelphia last month, parting with a player who didn’t fit in a system favoring pass-catchers out of the backfield.
Howard set career lows in yards rushing (935) and attempts (250) in his third season. But he still had more combined carries than the running backs currently on Chicago’s roster — Tarik Cohen, Mike Davis, Taquan Mizzell Sr. and Ryan Nall. Even with receiver Cordarrelle Patterson expected to get some carries, there still was room for another running back.
Chicago also has one pick each in the fourth and sixth rounds, plus two seventh-rounders.
The Bears might look for help at tight end and the defensive backfield not to mention kicker, where they have a major hole. Chicago let Cody Parkey go after one rough season that ended with a double-doink miss off the upright and crossbar on a potential winning field goal at the end of the wild-card loss to Philadelphia at Soldier Field. The Bears have three kickers with no experience — Redford Jones, Chris Blewitt and Elliott Fry.