This time last year Connor McGovern was about to embark on his first full season at guard, only 2018 led to a position change to center once Matt Paradis landed on injured reserve. Now McGovern’s become the longest tenured member of the Broncos’ offensive line room.
It’s been a little bit of a shift because I used to be the one asking people that and now I have to find those answers out and help the other guys. It’s fun. I enjoy being center in that aspect of the job.
Connor McGovern profile
Experience: 4th season
McGovern came to the Broncos in the infamous Paxton Lynch class back in 2016. He’s also a former teammate of Broncos quarterback Drew Lock. Beyond his connections to Broncos quarterbacks, he came into the league renowned for his toughness and athleticism at Missouri where he played tackle and set records in their weight room. He had the most reps of any offensive lineman at the 2016 NFL Combine at 33 and participates in power lifting when he isn’t mashing in pads.
- Solid movement skills.
- Heady player.
- Quick feet.
- One of four Broncos to play 1,000 snaps in 2018.
- Solid hands on contact.
- Bull strong.
- Smooth pass set.
- Will play into help.
In order to get as much as possible from McGovern’s tape, I focused my time on his reps at center since that’s where he’ll play for the Broncos. I expected his snaps in relief of Matt Paradis against the Texans to be worse than they were, in all honesty.
The Broncos made the most of their bye week after Houston. Jared Veldheer returned to health which pushed Max Garcia to the bench for Billy Turner. With stronger help beside him and a little time to settle in, McGovern looked far more comfortable against the Chargers.
How McGovern handled stunts was definitely encouraging. Other strengths of his game were his quick feet and solid hand work. He shows the ability to prevent an opponent from latching on with his heavy hands.
The other two things that really stand out about McGovern are his quick feet and his ability to get out on the move. Fans take for granted how difficult blocking at the second level can be, and the 2019 blocking scheme will ask for it more often.
- Average arm length.
- Tore a pectoral in college.
- Snap hand needs speeding up.
- Top heavy frame
- Relatively inexperienced center.
There are two big weaknesses McGovern can realistically address through camp. In his first game and here and there down the stretch, it was noticeably how quicker rushers could get into his body before he got his snap hand up. This should get better with repetitions and I fully expect it to improve, but keep an eye for that.
The other big issue is one Munchak and an offseason of preparation should help. McGovern’s built like a brick $#!&house; he once tore a pectoral trying to bench press 515 lbs in college. He’s built a bit top heavy and upper echelon power players like Johnathan Hankins and Larry Ogunjobi can give him issues if they get into his frame.
Lastly, McGovern’s experience at center consists of the 2018 season. At Missouri he played both guard sports and left tackle, and he only played 7.5 games at center last season. Munchak should help, but he’s still learning on the job.
If you’re just running an outside zone every play, the defensive line[men] are just taking off to the sideline. They’re not having any respect for the power game. You have to be able to do both. You can’t just be an outside zone team and just run it around. They’re going to be able to beat that. You have to be able to have both. I think we have it set up for both. We’re still big guys. Everyone is over 300 pounds and can run power, but we’re also really athletic. I think the combination between our power game, our gap schemes and our pin-pull stuff, I think it’s going to give a defense a lot of problems with our athleticism. We’re going to use our athleticism really well.”
Connor McGovern’s roster status with the Broncos
The arrow is pointing up on McGovern’s career, which is fortunate for him as his contract expires after the 2019 season. Barring injury, he’ll start at the pivot of an overhauled line with Ja’Wuan James and Dalton Risner taking over for Billy Turner and Jared Veldheer.
Health is the big question mark, but the expected starters certainly look like the most talented offensive line since the Manning era. Combine that talent with one of the best position coaches in football in Mike Munchak, and there’s potential for 2019 to feature the best Broncos’ line in recent memory.