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I hinted in the introduction that I would have the 49ers selecting an interior offensive lineman in the first round. When you heard that, you most likely thought I would have the 49ers selecting a guard, not a center.
I know that the 49ers already have a quality veteran holding down the center position in Jonathan Goodwin, but Konz can start at right guard till Goodwin moves on, temporarily filling that hole. Moving to guard won't require too much of an adjustment for Konz as it is very similar to the center position, only with fewer responsibilities. For a rookie, simpler is always better.
Now lets talk about Konz a skill set.
Konz is a perfect fit for the 49ers power blocking scheme. He is a road grader, and does a good job of hitting his secondary blocks. He paved the way for the top rushing offense in college football, so can you imagine how many yards Gore would rack up behind this guy? He also gets off the line surprisingly quickly for 6'5", 315 pounds, and has no problems providing a clean pocket for the quarterback.
Konz has been compared to Nick Mangold of the New York Jets. This is quite the comparison as Mangold is regarded as the best center in the NFL and warranted the first round selection that is so rarely used on centers. Instead of the offense running through quarterback Mark Sanchez, the offense runs though Mangold. For example, Mangold is in charge of recognizing defensive packages, and if he sees something he doesn't like, he calls an audible and adjusts the offensive line. Konz was in charge of calling line plays at Wisconsin, suggesting that he has that type of awareness. Konz is not as athletic as Mangold though and could have trouble with a quality NFL pass rush.
What I most like about this pick though is that in the long run it could potentially fill two needs. Goodwin is a stop gap player and will only be around for another year or so. After starting at guard, Konz should be ready to take over the center position when Goodwin leaves. Who will then take over for Konz at the right guard position. Why not Daniel Kilgore?
For those who don't know about Daniel Kilgore, the 49ers moved up in the fifth round of the 2011 draft to pick him. I liked what I saw from Kilgore during preseason and so did the 49ers. This has been indicated by the 49ers decision to let Snyder walk and not bring in any other guards. The 49ers should be cautious though in not rushing Kilgore to the starting role, as you have to remember that he played in division two college football. There is already a big enough gap between the talent in division one college football and the talent at the pro level, much less between division two and the NFL. Also Kilgore did what he did in the preseason, against other second stringers, and did not register a start in the regular season.
The 49ers would be wise to bring in some insurance in case Kilgore isn't ready to start. This insurance could be Peter Konz, and would give Kilgore the time he needs to eventually take over at the right guard position.