The great thing about the NFL is that there are so many positions that every year, there is almost always at least one player who has a breakout year on every team, no matter how good or bad the team is. This is one part in a 32 part segment detailing one potential breakout player (rookies don’t count) for the 2013 NFL season on each NFL team. For the Atlanta Falcons, that player is center Peter Konz.
Konz was one of the better center prospects I’ve scouted, a 3 year starter at the offensive line factory that is the University of Wisconsin and a big time road grader at 6-5 315, with the balance and technique to excel inside despite his height. Konz also had 33 inch arms and help up in pass protection one on one when asked. Centers rarely go in the 1st round, but Konz had a chance to. An ankle injury sustained late in the season dropped him into the 2nd round, where the Falcons took him 53rd overall, which I thought was an excellent pick. Despite giving up their 1st rounder the year before in the Julio Jones trade, I still thought they got a 1st round talent out of the draft.
The original plan was for Konz to be a reserve as a rookie at center behind veteran Todd McClure, but 6 weeks into the season, right guard Garrett Reynolds went down for the year with a back injury and Konz was inserted at right guard, an unnatural position. Konz struggled mightily in 12 starts, 10 in the regular season. He graded out as ProFootballFocus’ 76th ranked guard out of 81 eligible in the regular season, allowing 5 sacks, 7 hits, and 13 hurries, while struggling as a run blocker.
However, with Reynolds set to return at right guard and center Todd McClure retiring, Konz is expected to be the starter at center this year, where he’s a much more natural fit and he could easily have a breakout year and emerge as one of the better centers in the league. He has the talent to and I wouldn’t put much stock into his rough first season in the league.