Cowboys Nation was rocked by the news that All-Pro center Travis Frederick has decided to retire from the game of football. Because of Fredrick’s age, no one really saw retirement as a possibility, but his recent bout with Gullain-Barre syndrome changed the equation. The Cowboys now face a big hole in the center of their offensive line.
One possible solution for 2020 is Joe Looney who the Cowboys recently re-signed. Looney filled in for Frederick during the 2018 season when Frederick was out with Guillain-Barre. By most accounts, Looney did a good job of filling in, but there was definitely something missing from the inside running game that year. So while the Cowboys do have a replacement, he might not be the guy they turn to.
Instead, we have to consider Connor McGovern. He has been a forgotten man since the Cowboys picked him in the third round of last year’s draft. His pectoral injury last year kept him out of action for almost all of the offseason activities and all of the season. It was kind of a surprise when the Cowboys selected McGovern, but the organization had him ranked highly on their board, as did many analysts, and they thought the value was too good to pass up. That pick may look very prescient soon.
Most fans tend to think of McGovern as a guard, that’s generally what he has been listed as and the thought was he could compete for Connor Williams job, or even take over there if they ever moved him to tackle. But McGovern also started 14 games at center for Penn State. He spent a whole season as their starting center. It’s not a stretch at all to think the Cowboys might look to him as their center of the future.
It’s true that McGovern was thought to be a better fit at guard. That comes from his college coaches among others.
While his primary position at Penn State was center for his first two seasons before switching to guard as a junior, it is his versatility that jumps out at the next level.
So much so that Limegrover did not have a definitive answer, but did offer his opinion, saying he believes McGovern is best suited to be a guard.
“That is a really good question,” Limegrover said. “I think guard is. I also know that he is willing and will do a really good job wherever they decide to put him. One thing he has positioned himself to be appealing is that teams know he is not just a one position player. Maybe he is not starting right away, but he will be one of the eight offensive linemen the team will carry.”
But now that the Cowboys have an obvious opening at center, it’s likely that he will get a chance to compete there with Looney. Here is what one scout had to say about him heading into last year’s draft.
“We do think he’s a better fit at guard than center, but he can play both positions. It is a very good interior line draft class, so that might be pushing him down.”
If McGovern pans out, that was a very lucky pick by the Cowboys. As they always say, draft for value, not for need. Because one day everything becomes a need.