The Tennessee Titans are looking at three centers in free agency, as reported by Jason La Canfora on Twitter. The most notable of the three being Dan Koppen, who could come in and immediately replace Eugene Amano as the starting center.
However, don't think that automatically means the Titans won't draft Peter Konz. They had three holes in the offensive line last year, and Mike Munchak is wisely trying to eliminate any major holes before the draft so that they aren't pigeon-holed into taking need when a great value falls into our laps.
These pros and cons will give you a good idea why Konz should be a strong candidate for the Titans' first-round pick, even if they pick up a 32-year-old center in free agency.
Konz lets defenders get too far into his body before he reacts.
He should work on using his long frame to keep defenders at bay so that he can use his strength to his advantage. This isn't as big of a problem on the inside as it is at either tackle position, but it is something that will need to be polished if a team takes him thinking they can craft him into a RT.
He needs to work on his pass defense against quicker defensive tackles.
He isn't slow, he just reacts too late and has to rely on his strength to knock the defender off his track to the quarterback. This is something that can be coached up.
How would you feel about taking Peter Konz in round 1?
He plays so low to the ground with such a large frame.
This occasionally causes him to lose his footing. Not often enough to be a major concern, but it isn't something to brag about either.
Konz is not overpowering consistently.
On backpedals he gives up too much ground sometimes, but does use his leverage very well in those situations. Time in an NFL weight room may fix this, although the coaches at Wisconsin know how to make offensive linemen.
Excellent combo blocker.
He and Zeitler may have been the most formidable interior line tandem in the league last year.
Some centers are content to stand around in pass protection and watch the play go on around them. Not Konz. When he sees that no blitzer is coming, he finds the nearest defender and pummels him. I love that.
Which pick would you rather have if all were available?
Exceptional speed and agility.
For a center to pull at all it takes a sense of timing and rhythm that few have, but rarely can a center get out in space as quickly as Konz does, and square up on a defender.
I'm convinced that Konz could play anywhere on the line in any system, except left tackle. He has the agility, lower body strength, intelligence, recognition, timing and everything else it takes to be a pulling guard. Not to mention his powerful down blocking and his ability to get to the second level quickly are very impressive.
On top of all the impressive things he can do, think about how big he is at 6'5", 315 lbs.
I know you can't judge someone exclusively on this, but Wisconsin should change their name to the University of Offensive Linemen. They produce a good one or two every year. Whether that is coaching or just pure recruiting power, it should be noted that he and his aforementioned right guard Zeilter both have fringe first-round grades and will likely make an immediate impact in the NFL if history has taught us anything.
Tough, not injury prone.
Though he may get this stigma, Konz is not injury prone. He had an ankle injury that put him out for a few games, but even then he came back hurt to play in the bowl game for Wisconsin.
Great person and mature.
While character concerns are more commonly found in NFL prospects, Konz is in the rare minority of those who are ready to play in the NFL in every sense of the words. He is engaged and also got his degree with a 3.2 cumulative GPA while taking 18 hours his senior year to graduate. Smart guy.
I would say that his play alone has earned him a late-first-round grade. However, given the character displays and the versatility he possesses, I think that he could easily find his way into the No. 16 to 22 overall pick area.
He can fill any hole in your offensive line, but if you could play him at right guard or center it would become clear that he was worth the pick. I think Konz is ready for the NFL, and any team that gets him is getting an on-field leader as well.
The Titans would do well to take him at No. 20, and here are some pieces they could grab to fill the other positions of need in the draft.