With the offensive line being an area that most fans look for the Lions to improve in this year’s draft and the fact that they have no heir apparent to Dominic Raiola, it isn’t surprising that Peter Konz’s name has come up a lot.
I’ll admit to doing my part in that. Konz has been my pick for the Lions in my early mock drafts. He can take over for Dominic Raiola whenever that needs to happen and can compete for playing time at guard in the meantime.
The first question many will ask is, “that’s a little early for a center, isn’t it?” Not really. Here is a table listing the first centers drafted in the last ten drafts:
|2011||15||Mike Pouncey||Miami Dolphins||0|
|2010||18||Maurkice Pouncey||Pittsburgh Steelers||2|
|2009||21||Alex Mack||Cleveland Browns||1|
|2008||59||Mike Pollak||Indianapolis Colts||0|
|2007||59||Ryan Kalil||Carolina Panthers||3|
|2006||29||Nick Mangold||New York Jets||4|
|2005||26||Chris Spencer||Seattle Seahawks||0|
|2004||45||Jake Grove||Oakland Raiders||0|
|2003||21||Jeff Faine||Cleveland Browns||0|
|2002||37||Andre Gurode||Dallas Cowboys||5|
On average, the first center taken in the last ten drafts came off the board at pick 33 with six of the ten drafted in the first round, including the last three that all were off the board before pick 23, the pick the currently Lions hold. In other words, the possibility of Peter Konz being the pick for the Lions won’t be precluded based on his position.
What remains to be seen is whether or not Konz is the type of prospect that is worthy of the pick like the previous three drafts’ top centers. Early indications say that he is. Konz is currently the top center as ranked by Mel Kiper, who calls him “a great one, a smart player who can make all the calls at the line.” Konz is also the number two interior lineman on Mike Mayocks’s board behind guard David DeCastro.
Peter Konz’s combine didn’t get off to a very good start with only 18 reps in the 225-pound bench press. That was fourth lowest of all the offensive linemen that participated. However, ESPN NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert wrote a piece wondering if the Green Bay Packers could be interested in Konz as a replacement for Scott Wells and minimized the strength concerns with the following:
…it’s not out of the question that “strength questions” could drop his value a bit and make him more likely to be available to the Packers at No. 28 overall.
At this point it seems more likely that a poor combine performance ensures Konz is available when the Lions pick at 23 rather than knock him out of contention for the pick completely. Just something to think about as the draft process continues.