The Denver Broncos have done much to upgrade their offensive line this offseason. They added guard Ronald Leary and tackle Menelik Watson in free agency, and first-round tackle Garett Bolles in the Draft.
The new acquisitions have been made to improve the offense, sure, but it's also been done with the idea in mind to get center Matt Paradis some help. For the last two seasons, Paradis has been Denver's stalwart O-lineman, having not missed a single snap.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1769165-broncos-draft-rewind-conn... In 2016, even with the house coming down around his ears, and playing through extreme pain and hip discomfort, Paradis played hard for his team, finishing as the top-rated center in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. Paradis was a beast in the running game and recorded seven perfect games in pass protection, per PFF.
However, Paradis has since had double-hip surgery. The Broncos hope to have him back in time for training camp, but they're not going to rush him. And frankly, there's no guarantee he'll return to the same form we've grown accustomed to seeing over the last couple of seasons.
I'm not counting Paradis out — far from it. But the Broncos have to plan for that contingency. James Ferentz is a pure zone center and was retained on an exclusive rights free agent tender. But last year's fifth-rounder, Connor McGovern, has been benefiting most from Paradis' absence.
McGovern has been receiving reps at center during OTAs, according to Mike Klis of 9NEWS. He did not suit up for a single game as a rookie, but the Broncos kept him on the active 53-man roster, which is not uncommon. Known for his strength and versatility, McGovern saw action at both tackle positions and right guard while at the University of Missouri.
But McGovern's strength prjoects well on the interior, where it's hat-on-hat — just move your assignment off the ball and open a hole. McGovern can do that.
He's also a smart player and I'm very much looking forward to seeing how he progresses between years one and two in training camp. Paradis will return to action, probably at some point in July. In the meantime, McGovern is getting some much-need action and endearing himself to position coach Jeff Davidson and the new offensive coaching staff.
Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.