Prior to the retirement of All-Pro Center Travis Frederick, the Dallas Cowboys looked to have their offensive line pretty well solidified heading into 2020. Now, there are question marks at center and potentially left guard depending on which way the coaching staff wants to go.
The interesting thing with the way both left guard and center may play out in 2020 is that Connor Williams, Connor McGovern, and Joe Looney each are options for the Cowboys at both positions.
At the moment, without the benefit of practice time, Joe Looney is the starting center for the Cowboys. He was pretty good in 2018 filling in for Travis Frederick. In addition to extensive experience at center, he has filled it at times at guard as well. And though he’s no Zack Martin, he’s a physical presence in the interior with a lot of NFL experience.
Connor McGovern sat out the 2019 season due to injury but offers the Cowboys an intriguing option at both guard and center. At Penn State he played center, guard, and left tackle for the Nittany Lions. His 14 starts at center make him an intriguing option as the guy to take over for Travis Frederick in the long-term. Unfortunately, because he was so limited last offseason, we don’t really know what he is at the NFL level. With his experience as a four-year starter in college, he has the knowledge to take over at center and provide the rest of the offensive line with their cues at the line of scrimmage.
Incumbent starting left guard, Connor Williams will be an interesting case study this offseason. He’s been the Cowboys starter at left guard for the last two seasons and played well at times and at other times struggled with the physicality of playing on the interior. Injuries have also limited him to just 11 games in 2019. At times in his career with the Cowboys, they’ve had him take some snaps at center to see if he could be an option there. He could also be in consideration to start at center. The scenarios for Williams are as varied as any player on the offense. He could be the starting left guard, the starting center, or end up as the swing tackle behind Tyron Smith and La’el Collins. How he fares in the offseason battle on the interior will go a long way toward determining his future with just two more years on his rookie contract. With a new coaching staff in place, his hold on the left guard spot isn’t so secure moving forward.
And then you have Adam Redmond who showed some promise during practices last offseason and in training camp. Enough for the Cowboys to bring him back as an exclusive rights free agent. If he can take another step this offseason, he’s another name you can add to the center competition.
With Williams, McGovern, Looney, and Redmond the Cowboys will look to see what their best combination of players is for the two interior offensive line spots. They have four guys who could conceivably play center and three guys who could play guard for them. Figuring out which two at which position works best with the other guys on the line is the biggest question the new coaching staff has to answer this offseason.