Determining Connor McGovern’s Role As A Rookie

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(Editor’s Note: Now that offseason practices are in full swing, let’s get to know 30 Cowboys players who are new to the current 90-man roster. Today we’re featuring offensive lineman Connor McGovern.)

How He Got Here: Often times, in the interest of upgrading the problem spots on their roster, NFL teams will lean toward their needs during the NFL draft. McGovern is the opposite of that, as the Cowboys simply drafted the best player still available – regardless of which position he plays. Taken at No. 90 overall in the third round of the draft, the Penn State guard actually had a higher grade than the team’s second-round pick, Trysten Hill. Many draft analysts believe McGovern has plug-and-play ability at both guard and center, so to say he upgrades what is already a loaded offensive line room might be a bit of an understatement.

Bet You Didn’t Know: The Cowboys’ decision to draft McGovern came completely out of left field for fans, media – and for McGovern himself. The team did not visit with him at the NFL Combine, and he was not a pre-draft visitor to the facility. The lack of clues about their interest made McGovern one of the Cowboys’ more surprising picks in recent memory.

Quotable: "There is no question physically he looks like he belongs. He has got a really good body, long arms, big hands. He looks the part. But he will grow and develop as well.” – Cowboys coach Jason Garrett

Bryan Broaddus’ Take: Connor McGovern has been getting work at both center and guard during these offseason practices. Right before minicamp, he suffered a pectoral injury that forced him to miss those last three workouts. With rest, McGovern should be good to go for training camp. My thought of the big picture: his selection is more about next season than this one. I don’t see him beating Connor Williams out at left guard. Coaches tend to go with players they’ve seen perform in battle. Williams took his knocks last season and appears ready to go. If something were to happen to Williams, my feeling is that Joe Looney or Adam Redmond would be his replacement – again, because of coaches wanting to go with veteran guys. But bringing Connor McGovern along slowly won’t be a bad situation. 

Role/Roster Chances: McGovern was a Day 2 draft pick, so his place on the roster is secure. The depth on the Cowboys’ offensive line is what makes this situation interesting. It’s hard to imagine McGovern claiming a starting job right off the bat, but he could undoubtedly push both Xavier Su’a-Filo and Joe Looney for a job as either a backup guard or the backup center. It’s also interesting to note La’el Collins’ contract situation. Collins’ deal expires after this season, and the Cowboys may want to move Connor Williams into his right tackle spot and plug McGovern into Williams’ left guard role. Those are all questions to answer in the future, but McGovern should be a versatile and useful addition to this unit in the meantime.

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