More than 30 minutes after his final public workout prior to the NFL draft had ended, Connor McGovern was nowhere to be found.
Some half of an hour earlier, McGovern walked straight off the field and out the exit doors and off-site of the Holuba Hall Indoor Practice Facility, accompanied by a Tennessee Titans scout who desperately wanted to meet with him.
It seems wherever he goes these days, from agents angling to represent him to NFL teams dreaming of a chance to select him, everybody wants a part of McGovern.
“Just trying to take one day at a time,” McGovern, a versatile guard/center at Penn State and former Lake-Lehman star, said. “I’m not trying to think about the draft right now.”
He admits that’s kind of difficult.
Especially when scouts from most of the NFL’s 32 teams flooded Holuba Hall for some final evaluations Tuesday during Penn State’s Pro Day.
That’s when wide receiver DeAndre Thompkins took the opportunity to turn heads with his hands, linebacker Koa Farmer proved he could be a plus in more ways than one at the next level of football and quarterback Trace McSorley showed he has all the necessary skills to be a legitimate NFL quarterback — not cornerback.
“I believe I’m a quarterback,” said McSorley, dismissing talk by some draft experts suggesting he may be a better NFL fit in the defensive backfield and insisting he didn’t hear any teams he talked with urging him to switch positions. “That’s where I put a lot of hard work into training, made my investment. In my heart and in my soul, I’m a quarterback.”
He was a record-setting one at Penn State, and once again proved why on Pro Day.
A total of three passes hit the ground during his 20 minutes on the field, as McSorley kept connecting with darts to various angles and distances, showed a deftness in his drop after spending his whole collegiate career taking shotgun snaps and displayed splendid accuracy hitting targets while on the move.
He did need some help, though.
In particular, Thompkins made a spectacular snag of a 10-yard touchdown throw, whirling his body completely around to pull down a bullet that was both high and behind him in the right corner of the end zone. This came after Thompkins made a sliding grab of a sinking 20-yard throw to the center of the field.
“I still don’t think I’ve reached my potential yet,” said Thompkins, who projects to be a receiver and punt returner in the NFL. “I have a lot to learn. I’m excited to learn at the next level. I do play both, wide receiver and punt return. The more versatile you are, the more they (NFL teams) like you.”
That’s Farmer’s attitude.
The linebacker was out to prove himself Tuesday as a do-it-all option, even going so far as to say he’d feel comfortable taking snaps from center.
“I will play anywhere on the field, except for offense line and defensive line,” Farmer said. “My story at Penn State was, I was playing a different position every year. So I just wanted to show my versatility (Tuesday). I can play quarterback. I’m that confident. I’ll play offense, play defense. Whatever I can do to make a 53-man (NFL) roster, I’ll do.”
McGovern really didn’t have to do much Tuesday.
Satisfied with his performance at the recent NFL Combine in Indianapolis, McGovern opted not to take part in the timed Pro Day dash drills, but recorded a 9-4 in the broad jump, a 4.57 in the pro shuttle and a 7.66 in the L drill — which included players running back and forth between cones to form the shape of a letter L.
“I was very comfortable with everything I did out there (in Indianapolis),” said McGovern, adding he talked to most of the NFL’s team representatives at the combine.
Instead, he concentrated more on displaying his prowess on various blocking techniques — including drills that had him taking on two pass rushers at once, fending off charging defenders with multiple arm positions and showcasing some fancy footwork with his arms behind his back.
“It’s just, several teams use different techniques, and you want to show them you can do them,” said McGovern, who will continue working out on his own at Penn State but will return to his Northeastern Pennsylvania home to host an NFL Draft party when the event opens with the first round on April 25. “I thought it went very well, did some good position work.”
McGovern said he’ll complete his school work at Penn State over the summer.
A true junior and Agribusiness management major, McGovern declared early for the NFL Draft and points out he is just 19 credits shy of obtaining his degree from Penn State — a big factor in his decision to make himself available to NFL teams.
“If I would have been a little further from graduation, that would have been a big factor for me,” McGovern said.
The position he plays in the NFL isn’t.
McGovern, who said he has heard talk he may be chosen as high as the second round of the draft, said the NFL teams he’s spoken with are evenly split while envisioning him as a guard or a center. And his 6-foot-6, 311-pound frame also makes McGovern an ideal option to line up at offensive tackle for a team that needs help at that spot.
“I’ve asked the question,” McGovern said of where he may fit in with the NFL, “most were a split down the middle. But all of them liked the versatility. As a lineman, I can play in any one of those spots, I can play all five. You only get to keep seven, maybe eight (offensive linemen) in the NFL. I think versatility helps.”