With the fifty-fifth pick of the 2012 NFL Draft the Atlanta Falcons have picked Peter Konz from Wisconsin. Konz is a plug and play guy that can play guard and center. He is most likely the heir apparent to Todd McClure unless Joe Hawley takes a huge step this off-season.
Optimum Scouting had Konz as their #1 prospect at center and gave him the NFL player comparison of New England's Logan Mankins.
Here is the summary from the very detailed scouting reports that we were able to obtain from the guys at Optimum Scouting:
Peter's been a great lineman for Wisconsin throughout his career and will progress into a good starting center in the NFL. He's got a lot of the physical attributes you would want from a starting interior lineman. He is versatile enough that he could rotate into a guard position, although I'm not sure he'd be ready to jump right in at a tackle position. His injury history will be something that a lot of teams will be very cautious in watching. he's been consistently injured for the past 3 seasons and has missed playing time over his career due to them. His most recent injury, a dislocated ankle, is a very concerning injury. He is very tough and refuses to quit, but it does leave questions on whether the injuries will continue at the pro level, especially in such an important position as center.
One of the highlights about him that stands out is his size for a center. He stands 6'5, which is taller than most starting centers in the NFL. He seems to maintain very good balance at such a low level and looks comfortable being bent down that far coming off the ball. When coming into the league, he would benefit a team who is looking for someone to help sure up inside blocking and someone to help establish good pre-snap reads. He has a very high football IQ and is able to identify where the inside LB is at all times. One of the biggest benefits that he could provide to a team is in short yardage situations. He covers a lot of space for a center and is able to open larger gaps inside than most guys at the same position.
He's very good at using his body to create leverage against the incoming defender to force them to play around him and not through him. He has the footwork to keep up with quicker inside linemen. His main areas of concern in technique are going to be primarily against quickness off the snap. His height can be used against him and has at times in the college level. As he is widely touted as the best center in college football, look for him to go based off need, probably to either Baltimore or Green Bay.
I like this pick but it's hard to fall in love with picking a center/guard with your first pick in the draft. Give this one some time, it should pay off for us.
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