Connor McGovern was hoping his invitation to the Senior Bowl would give him a chance to show what he was capable of while playing the position he hopes to play in the NFL.
Then a hamstring injury suffered early in the week sidelined the University of Missouri product and dashed those hopes.
Now he’s back, 100 percent healthy, and looking to use the NFL Scouting Combine this week to show what he didn’t get to at the Senior Bowl.
“It was disappointing,” McGovern told reporters. “I didn’t play my normal position this year. I was looking for the Senior Bowl to really show that I am an NFL-caliber guard. I didn’t have that opportunity so now is the time to show I can do it.”
McGovern, who measured in at 6-foot-4 and 306 pounds at the Combine, played left tackle for the Tigers during his senior season but is projected to play guard at the next level. He had previously played guard and center during his time in Columbia.
He may never play left tackle again, but the fact that he did it in college can only help him in the NFL. Two of McGovern’s predecessors at Missouri, Justin Britt and Mitch Morse, both had experience at tackle with the Tigers but are playing interior line spots now.
“I think it helps,” McGovern said. “It shows that I’m versatile. I know I’m not the world’s best left tackle, but I can play it. I can hold my own out there. If a team needs me to finish a game or play one game out of the year at left tackle I can do it. It’s not my preferred position but I feel confident that I can play that position.”
McGovern added that he feels more comfortable at guard or center but is willing to play if a team needs him to. That should help his pro career because teams need that versatility, especially among backup offensive linemen.
“I think it’s a huge benefit for me going into the draft,” he said. “They only travel seven (offensive linemen) so they need a guy that can snap, play guard and tackle and I feel like I can do all three. So I think it helps me a lot.”
It should also help McGovern, and fellow Mizzou draft hopeful Evan Boehm, that some former Mizzou offensive linemen have had success in the NFL.
Tim Barnes was the starting center for the Rams this past season. Britt, in his second NFL season, started games for the Seattle Seahawks. Morse had a promising rookie campaign for the Kansas City Chiefs.
“It helps me and Evan a lot,” McGovern said. “I know Tim Barnes came out, he didn’t play right away but he did a great job for the Rams this year. You have Justin Britt, who has done a great job for Seattle. And then Mitch Morse, whose done the best job I’ve seen out of a rookie. … He started strong and he’s a great player.”
McGovern was rated by NFLDraftScout.com as the ninth-best guard and 151st-best prospect in the draft. He’s projected as either a fourth- or fifth-round pick.
He’s hoping his strength, athleticism and versatility will help his standing with NFL teams. He was hoping to hit 40 or more reps of 225 pounds on the bench press but fell short of that mark with 33, which still ranked among the top showings among the offensive linemen.
So next McGovern will try to show his athleticism as a guard when the offensive linemen run and go through drills.
“It’s something that I really hope to shine in,” McGovern said. “It was unfortunate I had a minor injury at the Senior Bowl and didn’t get to show out then and I think this is my time to shine right now.”