Konz: A big man from the Big Ten could fill a big Falcons need

A soaring career path? Once a Badger, Peter Konz will be a Falcon. (AP Photo)

An ascendant career path? Once a Badger, Peter Konz will become a Falcon. (AP Photo)

Flowery Branch – It was the aerialist Karl Wallenda who (supposedly) said: “To be on the wire is life; the rest is waiting.” For an NFL general manager, the essence of vocational life is the draft. It’s the time when a GM, who ordinarily works behind the scenes, takes center stage.

Pick a winner, and you’re the most sagacious human since Socrates. Pick a bum — or pick somebody your constituency doesn’t like — and you’re the bum. The draft is the equivalent of opening night on Broadway, and Thomas Dimitroff of the Falcons had to sit out this opener.

Granted, he had himself to blame. The five-for-one Julio Jones trade last spring shipped the Falcons’ 2012 first-round pick to Cleveland. Asked last week if it felt weird being sidelined for the draft’s Round 1, which is held on a Thursday night to much fanfare, Dimitroff said this:

“I’m not sure if ‘weird’ is the word. It’s something that we have set out since the beginning of last season knowing that we were going to be picking at 55 … It’s not as much of an impact for me during this time that I thought it might have been when we first made the [Jones] pick or in the few days after. I have enjoyed the process of being involved, thinking 55 over in the 20s, or 22 in our specific case, because it really forces an organization to come together.”

Then Dimitroff, bowing to cold reality, said: “At 55, we are a long way down.”

Well, yeah. An NFL active roster includes 53 players. A whole team’s worth of talent would be gone by the Falcons got around to choosing someone, and Dimitroff, try as he might, couldn’t really hype the product.

“It is very difficult to project what is going to be there in and around 45 to 55. That element of uncertainty adds an element of excitement, if you will. ”

Then, smiling: “I am trying to make this sound very, very positive for the masses. Suffice it to say we won’t be messing up any draft parties this year.”

A case could be made that the Falcons had trumped their draft by trading for the Philadelphia cornerback Asante Samuel on Wednesday. No matter who the Falcons took with the 23rd pick of Round 2, he won’t be, figuratively speaking, the biggest new man in shoulder pads when minicamp rolls around.

Not to say that the 23rd pick of Round 2 isn’t be a big man. He’s Peter Konz, who played center at Wisconsin but who was labeled a guard by the Falcons. He’s 6-foot-5. He weighs 314 pounds. He missed games in all three of his college seasons: Once with blood clots in each lung, twice with sprained ankles. For those holding memories of Peria Jerry, the Falcons’ No. 1 pick of 2009 who’d been injured at Ole Miss and whose NFL career hasn’t taken flight, you have your quibble.

On the plus side: Konz is a value pick who could help fill a crying need. He was ranked the draft’s best center. (Sorry, Ben Jones.) ESPN ranked Konz the 41st-best player available; NFL Draft Scout 300 slotted him 37th. Both Pete Prisco and Clark Judge of CBS Sports had him going in Round 1. When you’re sitting at 55, that’s not a bad find. And it’s better still when you recall the three failed fourth-and-1’s that defined the Falcons’ 2011 season.

The knocks on Konz are that he’s not particularly strong or fast — Konz did say he’d improved his bench press since a weak showing at the scouting combine — but this was a pick for need over want. Even if Dimitroff didn’t say it publicly, offensive line was always his target for the double-nickle choice. (And the Falcons took another O-lineman, tackle Lamar Holmes of Southern Miss, in Round 3.)  The Falcons, see, have enough skill players; they’d gotten light on the big nasties.

Konz’s name rhymes with Fonz, who was all the rage in Milwaukee, which is likewise in Wisconsin, back in the ’70s. (Kids, ask your parents. Or watch “Nick At Nite.”) An offensive lineman from the Big Ten is never going to cut the same dashing figure as Henry Winkler in his leather jacket, but this wasn’t a nod to style. To have nabbed such a player two-thirds of the way through Round 2 could yield a substantial gain.

By Mark Bradley

152 comments Add your comment

Doo Dah

April 27th, 2012
9:36 pm

jjm

April 27th, 2012
9:36 pm

Mark Bradley

April 27th, 2012
9:37 pm

Kudos, Doo Dah.

Steve

April 27th, 2012
9:42 pm

if he is a keeper Falcons fans think of it like this he will be able to sign a lot of autographs in a hurry with nine letters to deal with most Wisconsin linemen have 9 letter last names alone :D

Ed Mc

April 27th, 2012
9:45 pm

All he has to do is fall forward and we pick up two yards!

Ed Mc

April 27th, 2012
9:45 pm

Enter your comments here

dawgsfan1990

April 27th, 2012
9:45 pm

GO Falcons. We like this pick better than the Nate McLouth Trade!

Cajdawg

April 27th, 2012
9:51 pm

Not strong or fast and injury prone. Sounds like a great pick to me.

Al

April 27th, 2012
10:11 pm

Sam Baker must have a big smile on his face.

Flo- Ri- Duh

April 27th, 2012
10:11 pm

Should have traded up for Glenn who all the brains said was a 1st round choice. Massee was the 2nd option and was passed over by the Falcons. Massee has all the credentials needed and he is not injury prone.

diving duck

April 27th, 2012
10:13 pm

mark, you must not watch nick at nite anymore. it’s tool time, raymond, and carlos mencia. i miss the cunninghams and bradys.

Dirk

April 27th, 2012
10:21 pm

Actually a huge fan of MB. But this really threw me off …

“Well, yeah. An NFL active roster includes 53 players. A whole team’s worth of talent would be gone by the Falcons got around to choosing someone, and Dimitroff, try as he might, couldn’t really hype the product.”

INJURIES GALORE

April 27th, 2012
10:22 pm

NO,NO,NO,NO,NO!!!!! JUST HAVING A WINNING RECORD ISN’T ENOUGH ANYMORE!!! WE HAVE TO CHOOSE PLAYERS WITH A HISTORY OF BEING HEALTHY! PLAYERS THAT CAN HELP US NOW!!! I’M NOT SAY KONZ CAN’T OR WON’T I’M NOT SO SURE HE WAS THE BEST PLAYER ON THE BOARD THAT COULD OR WOULD HELP…….NOW!!!

Jfreak13713

April 27th, 2012
10:23 pm

I know nothing about this guy but I do know that we needed O-Line and DB and we got both!

"Chef" Tim Dix

April 27th, 2012
10:24 pm

blood clots on the lungs…The new Falcon metric.

What’s next, depth charts at hospice?

Hillbilly D

April 27th, 2012
10:26 pm

I don’t know a lot about this player but at least they made a move to improve the OL, which is their greatest need, in my opinion.

Gwinnett Fred

April 27th, 2012
10:27 pm

They were considering Massie at 55 and just traded away a chance to take him at 84???????

Could have totally rebuilt OL – would like to know why we traded instead of taking Massie!

indy falcon moving south

April 27th, 2012
10:33 pm

not sure how to feel about this one..injury prone,not alot of strength??? but yet rated the top center in college??..kinda wondering who rated the linemen….but it definately wasnt Jeff Van Note…lookin more for the nastiness in the trenches..i guess we shall see

Sam

April 27th, 2012
10:34 pm

I did want Massie at first, but there has to be a reason he is slipping. Trading back just a bit and picking up an extra pick is fine by me. Zebrie Sanders from FSU would be a terrific pick for us with our next pick.

Supers

April 27th, 2012
10:34 pm

Mark, the last 3 years he has missed multiple games due to injuries in college with a 12 game schedule…red flag for sure! Dont spin this one.

Supers

April 27th, 2012
10:35 pm

Each season…forgot to add that part.

Gorilla Biscuit

April 27th, 2012
10:36 pm

Anybody else smell bacon?

Left Coast Dawg

April 27th, 2012
10:38 pm

Not sold at all on this pick and hope they find value with that added 7th round pick from Baltimore.

Left Coast Dawg

April 27th, 2012
10:39 pm

Hillbilly D

April 27th, 2012
10:41 pm

An offensive lineman from the Big Ten is never going to cut the same dashing figure as Henry Winkler in his leather jacket

The Fonz was only 5′ 6″, though.

Roger

April 27th, 2012
10:42 pm

Fire Demi-troff…….failure…..5 first round picks, 2 busts…..terrible pick!

Butler9

April 27th, 2012
10:45 pm

However the Falcons’ draft picks wash out, they’re apparently fighting an uphill battle. By my count, exactly half of the NFL’s teams are named after animals (Falcons, Bears, Chargers, etc.). But non-animals (Patriots, Giants, Jets, etc) have won 37 of the 46 Super Bowls. Super Bowl appearances also highly favor the non-animals — 58 to 34. Not a good stat if you’re a Falcon.

Mark Bradley

April 27th, 2012
10:49 pm

Falcons take Lamar Holmes, OT from Southern Miss, with the 91st pick.

Hillbilly D

April 27th, 2012
10:49 pm

Third round pick is Lamar Holmes (T), Southern Miss.

Hillbilly D

April 27th, 2012
10:50 pm

Sorry MB, thought it might be past your bedtime. ;-)

Jack in Macon

April 27th, 2012
10:51 pm

Skinny arms for a lineman. Doesn’t look like he’s ever lifted weights. Understand he’s injury prone. ??????????

Whopper Dawg

April 27th, 2012
10:58 pm

I echo some of the comments on here. Played center in college, we move him to guard, strength, He is a center and we move him to guard, strength, speed and injuries are a concern. I like that it is at least on the OLine which is our greatest area of need, but would have preferred the Ohio State tackle or the Iowa State guard.

Lamar Holmes, I don’t know much about, but he is a big guy, but TD skipped over 8 tackles that were higher rated to select him.

So far, it is a typical TD draft, an injury prone, out of position guy that also is a step slow and not the strongest, and a reach in the third round.

At least it is on the OLine.

HAND SOLO

April 27th, 2012
10:59 pm

this buzzard johnny wad holmes was only given a grade of 31 out of a 100 by espn….please what inthe hell is going on

OHIO FALCON

April 27th, 2012
11:12 pm

Need pass rushing and TE, and we pick a guy rated to go in the late rounds if he was lucky with a bigger guy rated 58 points ahead of him. Scratching my head on this draft.

Country boy

April 27th, 2012
11:19 pm

Hello Marky boy. – very darn good read by you regardless of the subject. enjoyed it. Cheers

Trapper John

April 27th, 2012
11:25 pm

I hope some of these guys can sing. Welcome to the Atlanta Falcons’ Boys Choir, Pete and Lamar. We are so chock full of fine character guys around here. You’ll fit right in! I predict this to be the worst Little Tommy D. draft in his short lived career here. You can’t make this stuff up. Un – frigging- believable. Blood clots in the lungs? Chronic ankle sprains? Will he ever play one single down in the NFL???

techlosesyesagein

April 27th, 2012
11:27 pm

Good picks. Go for D rest the way unless maybe a te.

Delbert D.

April 27th, 2012
11:27 pm

Holmes rated a 50 by NFL combine to 48 for Massie. Heavier, longer, bigger hands; both are projects.

techlosesyesagein

April 27th, 2012
11:29 pm

And everyone crying about the clots if they were any problem or danger to him think he would still be playing after he recovered?

Old Goober

April 27th, 2012
11:35 pm

Holmes? Who the heck is he? Sounds and plays like a taxi driver. Philly gets the best DE available, Vinny Curry, and we get Holmes and a guy who can’t even stay healthy enough to play 12 games a season? I smell brimstone, Dimitroff. We’re desperate for defensive and offensive line help, and you get us a blood-clot vulnerable guard/center and a guy who otherwise would still be waiting in the 5th round. Even the ESPN analysts were too polite to say anything about your selections. Get the luggage out of the attic.

BullDogMike

April 27th, 2012
11:42 pm

Mark, any clue as to why Brandon Boykin, and Orson Charles not even being mentioned by anybody during draft coverage ?

kenny

April 27th, 2012
11:43 pm

Hopefully not, but this pick could make the P. Jerry pick look good..T.D. make trades, not draft picks,please..

Steverino

April 27th, 2012
11:43 pm

Two major things you need to know. 1) Wisconsin 2) Offensive lineman. Konz will start off as a part time guard and shift over to center in a couple of years when McClure is ready to hang it up. I’ve got no problem with the pick.

Darkmancw

April 27th, 2012
11:59 pm

I’m fed up with dimitoff crap!!!! Once again he has drafted injury prone players & passed on players with far more talent. I wish someone would step foward & reject this new stadium mess & tell the falcons brass to concentrate on drafting & signing players to bring a championship to the city of atlanta first. But this will never happen as long as blank, dimitoff, & mckay are the so called brain trust of the ATLANTA FALCONS!!! DON’T THINK I WILL RENEW MY SEASON TICKETS FOR NEXT YEAR!!! CAN PUT THE MONEY TOWARD SOMETHING MORE USEFUL SUCH AS CHIPS & DIPS!!!

Falcon Jim

April 28th, 2012
12:13 am

Everyone on this post are potential candidates for the “Pessimist Club of Atlanta.”
I hope any ONE of you have the nads to admit you were an idiot if one, or both, of these guys turn out to be a good pick. But of course you arm-chair butt-holes are all just puzzies.

falcon for life and Georgia sucks

April 28th, 2012
12:28 am

darkmancw…..Dimitroff has NOTHING to do with the new stadium. The center is a steal. I like the So. MIss. lineman.

JSS

April 28th, 2012
12:47 am

@ Hillbilly D…
So would you call this (draft) an indictment of their previous drafts and inability to evaluate or develop player talent (especially linemen)?

Falcon Jim

April 28th, 2012
1:07 am

A Blank, Dimitroff, M Smith and Mark Bradley should ALL be fired. The AJC should shut-down and EVERYONE move out of Atl.

Vote Obankruptbama……………………..JEEZ ! ! ! ! !

Tdawg

April 28th, 2012
1:09 am

You mean to tell me that the Falcons had a chance to grab Brandon Thompson and passed. Did Smith not see teams gashing us up the middle all season long. Well at least our DE’s are gonna put pressure on the ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,. Never mind.

Falcon Jim

April 28th, 2012
1:14 am

Bring back T Nobis and Cannonball Butler.