When Montre Hartage entered Northwestern, there wasn’t much hype surrounding the Cordele, Georgia native. Northwestern was the only Power Five team to offer Hartage, and Georgia Southern was the only other FBS program to give the then-two star recruit a chance.
But after an impressive career, he left as one of the most accomplished defensive backs in program history. Whether that will translate to NFL success is yet to be seen, but there is no doubt that Hartage will provide whichever NFL team he joins with supreme toughness and effort.
Hartage struggled at the combine with an 18th percentile SPARQ athletic composite rating and the second-slowest 40-yard dash time of all participating cornerbacks. None of Hartage’s other measurements stand out, but neither size nor athletic dominance has ever been his calling card.
Hartage’s ball-hawking ability is his finest skill. He garnered nine interceptions in his college career, often matching up with the opposing team’s best receiver. He is also a very willing participant in run defense, racking up 172 tackles in his time at Northwestern.
Further, his toughness certainly won’t go unnoticed with scouts. Hartage played through injuries throughout his four years at NU, and was only removed when absolutely necessary. Fitz relied on him to be the key cog in last year’s secondary, and he was needed on the field at all times. Hartage is also a very instinctive player, showcased here by his strip in the East-West Shrine game.
As stated above, Hartage doesn’t have the prototypical measurements that NFL teams look for in a cornerback. Some analysts have hypothesized that he would be better suited as a safety, where his measurements won’t impact him as much, and he can utilize his ball-hawking ability and above-average instincts.
The number that stands out the most here is the tackles. To have racked up that many over what was basically three seasons is impressive statistic, and a testament to the type of player that Hartage is. To be able to rely on a cornerback to come inside and help out with run defense is a huge asset, and may be now of Hartage’s defining trait.
Mock drafts have Hartage anywhere from the fifth round to undrafted. He’s a bit of a wild card in terms of where he’ll land, but if he isn’t drafted, he’ll quickly be picked up as an undrafted free agent. Sometimes, it’s an advantage to be an UDFA rather than a late-round pick, because it can give a player as in-demand as Hartage some control over his landing spot.
Hartage will be on a roster when the training camp comes regardless, but the challenge for him will be finding a spot at which he can stick. If he’s able to carve out a role on special teams, it’s more foreseeable that he could find that spot. If not, it’ll still be doable, but will entail a bit of an uphill climb.