Name To Know: Getting A Look At Connor McGovern

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(Editor's Note: With training camp finally beginning, there are countless names that will shape the way this Cowboys season plays out. On a team with this much star power, some of those names are better known than others. This series seeks to identify some of the unheralded members of the Cowboys' roster, highlighting how they might make the team and have an impact on the 2020 season.)

  • Who Is He? OL Connor McGovern
  • How Did He Get Here? A year before CeeDee Lamb, Connor McGovern became a prime example of drafting based on talent, rather than need.
    The Cowboys had pressing needs at safety and tight end when they came up on the clock at pick No. 90 in the 2019 NFL Draft. Despite that, they saw McGovern as a "blinking light" – a prospect who was far too talented to ignore at that draft spot. So they pulled the trigger.
    McGovern joined an already-loaded Cowboys offensive line without a definitive position. He played guard and center during his Penn State career, and projected well at both of those positions at the pro level. Without an immediate need along the line, the goal was for McGovern to settle into the position that made the most sense over time.
  • Career Highlight: Therein lies the problem – McGovern's career has yet to get off the ground.
    He suffered a pectoral injury during the offseason program last summer, and his rookie season was limited to a handful of practices in May and June.
    McGovern did get work at both guard and center during those practices, but that didn't exactly provide a clear idea of what the future holds – especially with a new coaching staff taking over in 2020.
  • How Does He Make It: McGovern seems like a pretty good bet to make the final roster, one way or another. He was a top-100 draft pick just one year ago, he is clearly talented and he has the flexibility to play multiple positions. Guys like that aren't cut very often.
    Having said that, figuring out his role is a different challenge. We know Zack Martin will be the starter at right guard. We know Joe Looney has starting experience at center, and we also know the team just drafted Tyler Biadasz to address that position.
    McGovern's best opportunity might be at left guard, where Connor Williams is coming off a torn ACL. It's worth noting, though, that Williams was not placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list at the outset of training camp – which would seem to suggest that the third-year veteran is ready for action.
    If there's a position battle on the offensive line, it may be between the two Connors. And if McGovern is as talented as the front office thinks, perhaps he can push for the starting job.
  • How He Can Help: If he's good enough to win the left guard job, then the answer is obvious – the Cowboys saw him as an improvement over Williams, who has been a solid starter in his own right. The same could be said if he managed to win the center job over an eight-year NFL veteran in Joe Looney and a Rimington Award winner in Tyler Biadasz.
    But even if McGovern can't win a starting job, he would still be plenty helpful. Making the numbers work on an NFL roster is all about versatility, and McGovern has plenty of that. He'd likely be the No. 1 reserve offensive lineman, because he can fill three positions.
    If you think about the problems the Cowboys have had on their interior offensive line in recent seasons, it's obvious why that's important. In 2018, they lost Travis Frederick for the entire season due to Gullian-Barré Syndrome. Connor Williams and Xavier Su'a-Filo both dealt with injuries in each of the last two seasons. Even Zack Martin has faced injury troubles in recent years.
    Clearly, quality depth would be nice to have.
    So even if McGovern doesn't find his way into the starting lineup, history suggests he'll have his chance to make an impact.

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