Chicago Bears: 3 players who could make their first Pro Bowl in 2020

Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Bears, David Montgomery
Chicago Bears (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

Pick Analysis. DavidMontgomery. 57. Scouting Report. RB. #32. 2. player

As long as Matt Nagy — with all due respect — is calling plays, this choice will remain one king-sized caveat. You’re only as good as the opportunity in front of you. And if Chicago’s play-calling history tells us anything, Montgomery will have ample opportunity to improve upon his No. 2 ranked pass protection ranking among running backs.

And yes, that’s sarcasm. It’s certainly a luxury in having the NFL’s second-best pass-blocking back. But here’s to hoping the Chicago Bears stray away from the visceral hope of trying to build a pass-heavy team, and instead opting for more balance.

When you break it down into the slimmest of margins, the under-use of Montgomery is alarming. The Bears averaged 10.6 offensive drives per game. Factor that with Montgomery’s 15.1 carries per game. He’s suggesting that will be better in 2020, and there’s enough rationale to suggest that it could.

If Bears fans shared in mutual prayer, we’re likely all hoping Bill Lazor stays in Nagy’s ear like a mosquito at a family BBQ. We hit on it from a team aspect, but here’s a look at some of the individual rushers he’s been the overseer of:

Lamar Miller (2014 and 2015)
— 254 touches, 1,274 yards, 9 TDs
— 241 touches, 1,269 yards, 10 TDs

Joe Mixon (2018)
— 280 touches, 1,464 yards, 9 TDs

The Bears normally elect to have Tarik Cohen collecting most of the target share among RBs, but utilizing Montgomery more out of the backfield feels like a successful recipe. Last season, he averaged just 2.2 targets per game, but had just a single drop over his 25 receptions.

Pro Football Focus conducted a study on how trends suggest Montgomery is due for an even bigger year. One stat stood above the rest: since 2013, Year Two running backs see a 19 percent increase in receptions and a 16 percent increase in targets.

Under that backdrop, Montgomery has a better chance of reaching the upper echelon of Pro Bowl running backs. A season ago, he produced 1,074 all-purpose yards, a shade under the NFL’s elite. Say he takes advantage of those extra targets, improves even marginally as a rusher under Nagy’s pass-first attack. He could be sitting on 1,500 total yards, a number only ten RBs surpassed in 2019.

It also helps his case that he’s got red zone vulture potential; he ranked No. 8 in red-zone touchdowns last year. That can help compensate, even if he doesn’t get the workload like that of a Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott or Saquon Barkley.

The competition is especially stiff for Montgomery. But if he catches a few breaks across the league, and does what he expects himself to do in 2020, it wouldn’t feel out of the ordinary to see him earn a Pro Bowl nod.