FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons top draft pick Peter Konz took part in a conference call with local media on Friday shortly after being selected by the Falcons.
Here’s what he had to say:
On being drafted by the Falcons: Just getting the opportunity is amazing. It doesn’t matter where I fell to because I love the team that picked me. I have nothing but great respect for the organization. Now I get to help be part of a winning tradition.
On whether he had seen the mock drafts predicting the Green Bay Packers selecting him: Well, little do people know this, but I was never a Packers fan growing up. I was around people that told me not to, so when the Falcons were in the Super Bowl, I was doing the ‘Dirty Bird’ with the rest of them.
On if he’ll play guard or center: No conversations yet, but I’ll do anything. At Wisconsin, they made sure I knew tackle, guard and center. Anywhere I can help the team, that’s my responsibility.
On whether he played anywhere other than center at Wisconsin: Never played, just practiced.
On whether he feels as if he can improve on his 18-rep bench press performance at the combine: Actually, I did more during my pro day. I got 23 during my pro day. I worked hard at it. I was training with our strength coaches at Wisconsin, (Wisconsin assistant strength coach) Brian Bott. It was something that I just put my mind to and I know I can always do better. That’s why I think I’m a good pick, especially for the Falcons, because I’m just going to keep getting better. I haven’t reached my ceiling at all. I’ve got a lot more growth and I can be a lot better of a player.
On the blocking scheme at Wisconsin: Wisconsin’s all about running the football. I was with coach Bob Bostad for four years. He’s down in Tampa Bay now, but we ran inside zone, we ran a lot of perimeter tosses and we ran a lot of gap scheme so a lot of just running up the gut and play action.
On if he knew the Falcons were interested: Actually, my agent just told me that’s a team that has a need, but they’re one of those teams that won’t talk to you through the whole process and they’ll pick you. That’s kind of what happened. It was a surprise, but it was a great surprise.
On playing alongside veteran C Todd McClure: Well, I’m always ready to compete for a position. I mean, any veteran deserves respect and I don’t intend to just walk in and just think that I own the place. I intend to come in and work hard and get to know everybody and try to fit in well with the team because that’s how we’re going to win.
On who he models his play after: Nick Mangold. He went to Ohio State and now the center for the Jets. He’s a great player, real tough, physical guy and the kind of guy who always does the right things on and off the field. That’s just one of the guys who I model. Joe Thomas. Great Wisconsin o-lineman. I think all the o-linemen at Wisconsin should be like Joe in one aspect or another. But just solid people and great football players.
On playing basketball and track and field in high school: I was always active. I love to do stuff. I’m not one to just sit down and do nothing. I loved playing and traveling around with basketball. I traveled to a ton of tournaments playing AAU and in high school. I was always the guy that set the solid screen and really knock somebody down. I think I only got one technical foul for that though.
On his injury history at Wisconsin: This year, it was a left ankle dislocation but I was only out for three games and I came back for the Rose Bowl. I’m one of those players, even if I’m not fully 100 percent, I’m not going to baby. I’m going to play and I’m going to work through something just to help the team. I mean, I’m 100 percent right now and I’m ready to roll.
On injuries earlier in his collegiate career: I had a right high ankle sprain. I did it against Ohio State, but once again, it was another one of those things where I just fought through. We were playing number-one Ohio State and it happened in the first quarter and I just played through it. I was trying to play through it for the whole season and then it just got rolled up again. But once again, I was able to come back for the Rose Bowl and play in a big game.
On his field of study in college: I studied communication arts – radio, television and film. I am a big media buff. My grade point average when I finished would be about a 3.3.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog