Competition in the Trenches: Center


November 25, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Atlanta Falcons guard Peter Konz (66) blocks during the first quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off of a fully healthy season and showing his ability to protect Matt Ryan, Sam baker is rolling in a strong new contract.  Justin Blalock also is a shoe in for the left guard position as he is still rolling in the contract he received only a few season’s prior.  After that, the Offensive line is just a guessing game.  The Last two days I predicted Mike Johnson winning the right tackle position and Garret Reynolds keeping the right guard position.  All that is left is the center.

In the 2012 draft, the Atlanta Falcons used their first pick to pick up center Peter Konz.  Todd McClure was in his final stretch of his career and Atlanta needed a new center.  Joe Hawley was recently drafted in 2010 as a center.  He’s proven to be a decent enough blocker in preseason games and any other game he had to fill in, but could he give Peter Konz a run for his money?

Peter Konz is fresh out of the University of Wisconsin where many people ranked him as the best center in the draft.  Last year, after Garret Reynolds lost his job, either Peter Konz or Mike Johnson was slated to take over the starting right guard role, but Reynolds showed off his super improved ability and kept his job to the surprise of many fans.  However, when he went down due to a season ending back injury, Peter Konz was the next man up.  I would not go very far to say he did a spectacular job.  But it does take time to work efficiently in a different position than you are normally accustomed, no matter how similar they are.

When I was in High School, I played a 4-3 defensive end.  When my coach decided to switch to a 3-4 front, I was slid inside.  I wasn’t fast enough to become an outside linebacker so I stuck with what was basically the same position, just further inside and it was a lot harder to get used to than I would have predicted.  But then again, I never went any farther than high school and these are the pros so my point may be completely useless, but good filler.

My point being that I do not think the Konz’s woes at guard exactly foreshadow his ability to be great center for the future. Having a year under his belt and back at the position he was drafted from could make him look better than we have ever saw him.

I believe Peter Konz shows off his real ability this year and takes the center of the line.  Joe Hawley is good enough and knows the offense well enough to give Konz a tough competition.  How do you think the Offensive Line will look like when they take the field in New Orleans?