Peter Konz was the Atlanta Falcons first draft pick in the 2012 NFL draft. He played center at Wisconsin, a Big Ten school known for producing large NFL linemen, and ended up being Atlanta’s second round pick. Everyone has projected that Konz will take the starting center job from Todd McClure in 2013, but for this season he has been expected to take the starting right guard job this season. His size is prototypical for an interior lineman position, and his college resume as an elite lineman precedes him.
I have called for exactly this to happen since the day the Falcons drafted him, and other pundits around the world have been calling for the same thing. All of that is well and good, but one thing none of us expected to happen has happened: rookie Konz has not flown up the depth chart the way you might expect a starting NFL talent to do.
Peter Konz has not been an overwhelming force in training camp or in the preseason games. He has the second string right guard spot, but he has that by default as nobody on the roster is a better option than him for right guard. He is still the third string center for the Falcons. When the second team takes the field, or the Falcons sub in for McClure at center, it is Joe Hawley, not Konz who takes the field. When Konz is playing guard with the second team, I haven’t seen anything fantastic out of him. Maybe that is because the rest of the second team o-line is really poor and it’s hard to stand out when the rest of the line is playing horribly. However, he still hasn’t been overly impressive, and I haven’t heard a whole lot of talk about how good he has been performing.
The Falcons didn’t have a first round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, so they needed to really hit on their first pick (the second round pick). They desperately needed help at a guard, tackle, and the center position, and it looked like the Falcons had gotten a steal by being able to take such a versatile lineman as Konz in the second round. I sure hope that pans out, and that Konz at least proves to be a solid, reliable starting offensive lineman for the next ten years or so. Obviously these thoughts are premature, as we haven’t even reached the third week of the preseason. But the Falcons need Konz to step up this week, to grab the starting guard this week, and to make this team better starting this week and going forward. Every draft pick that the Falcons have must be productive members of this team. Hopefully Konz will at some point very soon.