The 16th-ranked player is center Peter Konz. Click here to read the scoring system that devised these rankings.
Total Score: 62
Player Grade: 54 out of 100
Teams he could start for: 18 out of 32
Teams he is best position player: 5 out of 32
Teams he could find role on: 31 out of 32
Peak-Year Bonus: +5
Positional Bonus: +3
Despite struggling for most of his rookie season playing out of position at right guard, Konz ranks among the upper third of the roster. That is due to a number of factors. Firstly, his youth means that he gets a good bonus from the fact that he could play another decade or more at peak level. His versatility is also a bonus with the ability to play either guard or center for a number of teams. While he struggled at guard, he still could start at that position making it so that there are more teams that he could start for than not. His upside is also another reason why he gets a bonus. Moving to center should allow Konz to play at a much higher level this year, and his above average player grade reflects that. He was considered the top center in the 2012 draft class, and many had first round grades on him. He fell to the latter part of the second round more due to concerns over durability than ability.
The Falcons are in a position where they really need Konz to live up to that potential. If he does, he may be the first real success story that Thomas Dimitroff has had along the offensive line. While Sam Baker played well enough last year to earn a new contract with the Falcons, it remains to be seen if he lives up to that contract. Players like Mike Johnson, Garrett Reynolds, and Joe Hawley have yet to really carve out their value with the team.
Konz will be tasked with replacing Todd McClure, a fixture at center since 2000. Konz is a bigger, stronger, and more physical player than McClure, but it remains to be seen if he can showcase the intelligence and consistency that McClure had. McClure also was a very effective blocker downfield, something Konz struggled with last year. He’ll need to do a better job finding those middle linebackers on the second level if he wishes to develop into a top center.
The expectation probably shouldn’t be that Konz will be an immediate upgrade over McClure. More importantly, Konz just needs to be improved over his performance last season and look more comfortable. He’ll have plenty of time to grow into the position down the road. For now, the Falcons just are hoping that the dropoff from McClure to Konz is minimal, if not non-existent.