1. Connor McGovern, C, NY Jets
As previously mentioned, the 2021 season is finally going to field a New York Jets roster built entirely from Joe Douglas’ vision. One that puts an emphasis on the draft and uses free agency to fill in gaps and build depth.
Even so, Douglas took to the market in 2020 to find an answer at center, a position that has been an issue since Nick Mangold’s final year in 2016. The solution to their blocking in the middle was none other than Connor McGovern, who signed a three-year deal, worth $27 million.
The versatile lineman was taken in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, starting at both guard and center during his time with the Denver Broncos.
When he came to New York, he was coming off of a strong season with a 72.0 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, including an 82.5 pass-blocking grade.
Rather than being a tone center and leader along the interior, McGovern had a rough start to the season before improving slightly by end of the year.
His pass blocking was horrendous, as he earned a 42.7 grade, which played a role in him ranking 23rd of 36 qualifying centers with a 62.2 overall grade.
Yes, McGovern may have signed a three-year contract with the team, but the reality of the deal is that the Jets could save $9 million by cutting him before the 2022 season.
While the Jets may not have his replacement on the roster, Douglas’ priority since coming to New York has been beefing up the offensive line.
Should that continue, if McGovern is unable to rebound from last season, he could find himself looking for a new team in 2022.
And because of that, Connor McGovern is atop the list of players entering make-or-break seasons in 2021 with the New York Jets.