Is Peter Konz the Ravens' best choice in the first round?
Wisconsin's Peter Konz is rated by most draft pundits as the number one center in this year's draft.
Almost as many "experts" have Konz going to the Baltimore Ravens in the first round, which makes sense. Although Matt Birk has said he is coming back to play next season, the Ravens need a center of the future.
But is using a first-round pick simply to fill a need at center the right move for Baltimore?
Peter Konz had a disappointing performance at the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine. The only event Konz participated in was the bench press, where he only performed 18 reps of 225lbs.
To put things in perspective...defensive backs can bench press 225lbs 18 times. To give you comparison for the strength level of NFL centers, Miami's Mike Pouncey benched 225lbs 24 times while his twin brother Maurkice, also a center, completed 26 reps one year prior.
Of course, it takes more than strength to be a good NFL center.
Konz interviews well, shows great intelligence and flashes quickness to go along with good size. But, an interior lineman needs to use brute force to stop the Casey Hamptons of the world on a consistent basis. His bench press does raise a red flag.
If the Ravens only needs were at center, then drafting Konz in the first round would be the logical choice.
However, that is not the case.
They desperately need a pass-rusher to compliment Terrell Suggs, a long-term solution at left tackle, and players to replace Ray Lewis and Ed Reed when they decide to retire.
If Ben Grubbs chooses to leave, they will also have a need at left guard, and GM Ozzie Newsome has gone on record saying he hopes to continue to upgrade the receiver position.
All that said, there are a number of different ways the Ravens could go—center does not have to be the first position addressed.
Baltimore could get better value by waiting till later in the draft and picking up one of Konz's former rivals in Michigan's David Molk (who had the second best bench press in the combine with 41 reps) or Ohio State's Mike Brewster.
Molk or Brewster could be available in the third round, but, as history shows, Ozzie Newsome will most likely draft the best player available. If Konz is available at 29, and is the best player on Newsome's board, then Konz will be wearing purple and black next season.
As many Ravens fans say, "In Ozzie We Trust."