Last April, the Dallas Cowboys surprised many by spending their third-round draft pick on Penn State offensive lineman Connor McGovern. Now we can see why Dallas made the move to help prepare for 2020, but can the Cowboys really trust McGovern after missing his entire rookie season?
Drafting McGovern last year looks brilliant now that Joe Looney and Xavier Su’a-Filo are about to become free agents. Dallas was clearly trying to cover themselves at backup guard and center by adding Connor, especially given their salary cap needs at other positions.
Remember, the 2019 NFL Draft came on the heels of Looney being Dallas’ 16-game starter at center. Dallas made the playoffs that year despite missing Travis Frederick and Joe’s stock went up throughout the league.
Now we’re about to hit 2020 free agency and Looney, rightfully so, should be looking to cash in on that 2018 work. He’s still just 29 and good centers aren’t easy to find. It’s hard to imagine some NFL team not allowing him to compete for a starting role.
That departure would mean Dallas losing their best backup at both the guard and center positions. The Cowboys clearly drafted Connor McGovern a year ago hoping, at the very least, he could fill that void in 2020.
Unfortunately,a pectoral injury knocked Connor out of all but two days of training camp in 2019. He should be good to go this year but didn’t get the development time that Dallas had hoped for.
Still, as an interior offensive lineman drafted in the third round, McGovern was seen as having immediate starting potential. There was even a thought last year that he might push Connor Williams for the starting job at left guard.
Given that, even with the missed time last year, could the Cowboys still trust McGovern to at least be a primary backup?
It’s an important question as we continue to get down the road with Travis Frederick and Zack Martin’s careers. What’s more, Connor Williams has missed eight games over his two years in the NFL.
Bottom line; if the Cowboys hand the backup role to McGovern, there’s a strong chance he will have to play in a critical regular season game.
So is it enough to just let Connor McGovern inherit Joe Looney’s job? Can the Cowboys trust a redshirt rookie with such an important role or will they need to make an additional move to cover themselves this year?
Whatever Dallas chooses, it’s a decision that could have a major impact on the 2020 season.a