When the New York Giants signed center David Baas last season they thought they were getting a legitimate replacement for Shaun O’Hara. However, Baas was hit by the injury bug frequently last season with neck issues that led to migraine headaches. The Giants offensive line was shuffled around further after left tackle Will Beatty went out with a detached retina after the Nov. 23rd game against the Philadelphia Eagles. There is no doubt that heading into the 2012 NFL Draft Giants GM Jerry Reese will be looking long and hard at adding some depth to the offensive line.
Wisconsin’s Peter Konz is the best center in the draft. Konz, 6-5, 315 pounds, is just a smart football player with excellent technique, bending his knees and getting low on the defender to maintain his blocks. He can start to play a little high late in games when he begins to feel the fatigue but he has excellent footwork and balance which help him. He uses his hands well with a decent initial punch but needs to become a bit more violent with his hands. His pass protection needs a little work but he should be able to hold his own. He doesn’t drive defensive tackles when in pass protection but holds his ground. One of Konz’s greatest strengths is his ability to pull on sweep plays. He will move and create just enough room for the running back to scoot through. His speed is adequate and he will get to the secondary level to make blocks but his agility isn’t that great and he could miss in the open field against a more agile linebacker or safety. He appears to be much more comfortable blocking to his right than he does his left.
Injuries have been a problem for Konz in the past. In 2009 he was diagnosed with blood clots in both lungs and missed the last two games of the season. In 2010, he missed two games because of a sprained ankle. Then, in 2011, he dislocated his left ankle and missed three games. Although he returned to start in the Rose Bowl, the ankle held him out of the NFL Combine with the exception of the bench press where he did only 18 reps of the 225-lbs. bench press. He will need to add strength if he wants to become more than adequate at the next level. However, on film he looks strong so he could just be one of those guys that isn’t a weight room superstar.
There is no question that Konz could be an NFL center. He has borderline Pro Bowl talent right now and has one of the higher football IQ’s in the draft. You can see he is a leader on the game film and he has an excellent work ethic that should see him work on his areas of weakness and become a very good starter. The only real concern about Konz for me is his ability to stay healthy. His ankles seem to have taken a lot of abuse and it could become a problem for him as he plays more at the next level. Adding someone like Konz would give the Giants insurance in case Baas’ neck injuries become a problem. In the meantime, he can learn the nuances of the NFL game while being a productive member on the inside of the offensive line rotation. If the Giants are concerned about Bass’ health moving forward then picking Konz with the 32nd overall selection wouldn’t be a bad idea.