Chris Varughese

The Bears Brawl Writer, Jr. Editor and Draft Expert

Sometimes during the draft process, teams don’t have to look that far for potential stars. In the case of the Chicago Bears, they have an opportunity to find a bright, young cornerback right up the shore of Lake Michigan. Northwestern cornerback Montre Hartage may be a good fit with the Bears who are looking for a rotational piece in the secondary. He is fundamentally sound, but he has a lot of other aspects of his game that he needs to improve on if he wants to carve a niche at the next level.

Source: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America

Positive:

  • Footwork: Very light, quick feet. Shifts weight well off line of scrimmage. Very good backpedal and break on the ball. He does a great job of moving his feet when in press coverage, and he also has great footwork at the top of a route.
  • Physicality: Hartage portrays great physicality in both coverage and run support. He tries to be very physical at the top of a route which can help to disrupt timing plays. He also has great play recognition and during run support, he is not afraid to make a tackle. He also uses the physicality to help him stick to the receiver. In other words, he knew how to get away with a little subtle holding.
  • Size/Length: He stands at 5’11, but he has fantastic length for someone who is projected to play in the slot. This gives him versatility. He played most of his career on the outside, and has the length to cover tight ends and taller wide receivers.
  • Fluidity: Good hip movement, opens up well off the line. Also shows good flexibility at the top of the route, allows him to be sticky in coverage. It helps him to keep in front of receivers, and also allows him to have the great break that he does.
Source: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America

Negative:

  • Plays on heels: Although he has light footwork, when he plays off-coverage, Hartage has a tendency to sit on his heels. This allows the receiver to run up on him and then make his break. This causes Hartage to lunge without control to recover which takes away an important aspect from his game. He depends on being precise and physical at the right time, and if he can’t lunge and connect with the receiver he tends to get beat.
  • Hands at line of scrimmage: Hartage is someone who thrives on physicality, so it is especially puzzling that he doesn’t use that physicality at the line of scrimmage. He often relies on his fluidity and footwork to keep up with a receiver, but smaller and quicker receivers thrive on free releases. They can use their quicker feet to create space, which is why Hartage needs to use physicality at the line of scrimmage to disrupt the smaller receivers.
  • Lack of speed: Ran a 4.68 second 40-yard dash, doesn’t display long speed. Needs to keep everything in front of him, leaves little room for error.

Summary:

Montre Hartage is a defensive back that can play both outside or inside cornerback. He has a great combination of length and fluidity. He is fundamentally advanced, and although his lack of speed presents a natural barrier, he can rely on physicality and hone his footwork to become a great cornerback. He has a chance to play either slot or outside, but he will find most of success on the inside. If he can fine tune some of his negatives, he has a chance to be the best slot corner taken in the draft.

Stats: 40 solo tackles; 13 passes defensed; 2 INT

Projected Round: 5

Floor: Solid rotational cornerback, special teams piece (EX: Sherrick McMannis)

Ceiling: Top 5 slot cornerback