Neither of the Atlanta Falcons draft picks on Friday night were flashy, sexy, or any combination of the two. But they were necessary, and give the team two great prospects that could be able to contribute right away.
More importantly, both of these players bring back the "mean streak" that was inexplicably lost to this offensive line once Harvey Dahl left for St. Louis. They play through the whistle. They'll battle for 60 minutes.
And hopefully, fourth-and-ones and QB sneaks won't be so unbearably painful to watch anymore.
Round 2- OG/C Peter Konz, Wisconsin
At 6'5 and 314, Konz is your prototypical big-bodied, punishing Big Ten run-blocker. Practically every team had Konz listed as the best center in the draft, but he projects a a right guard for the Falcons, and will probably be the starter on day one.
The lowdown on Konz is that he's just what we've come to expect from a Dimitroff draft pick: he's a high-character guy, has a lot of football smarts, and versatile enough to plug in at multiple positions. He's also experienced, starting 30 games in three years for the Badgers, a team that traditionally likes to run the ball inside.
The main knock on Konz, however (and this perplexes me), is that he's missed some amount of time in each season at Wisconsin. Given what terrible luck the Falcons have had with rookie health (Jerry, Weatherspoon, Julio), I question why would Atlanta take a guy with durability concerns.
But beyond that- and unlike a few others- I really do like this pick. Konz can make an impact right away at right guard- something a team that's in "win-now mode" could use- and once McClure retires he's the center of the future. Quality selection.
Round 3- OT Lamar Holmes, Southern Mississippi
The Falcons traded down about six spots to pick up a fifth-rounder, and still managed to get the player (I think) they wanted.
While the position wasn't a surprise at all, the Holmes pick caught me a little off-guard. All reports on the tackle out of Southern Miss indicate that he's a project linemen, someone with all the physical tools but in need of some coaching and refinement. He's also listed as a "raw" pass-blocker.
Basically, he won't be starting this year. Might as well gear up for one more year of the Baker/Svitek duo, folks.
The pick also left me scratching my head a little bit because there were more than a few guys (Bobby Massie, Zebrie Sanders, Ladarius Green and Brandon Thompson) who I felt like would be better fits.
But like Konz, Holmes is massive (6'5, 323 lbs), a very capable run-blocker, nasty on the field and flawless off of it. I think we won't really see him get much time until 2013 at the earliest, but if he pans out the Falcons will have one big, mean offensive line.
As for the final day of the draft, look for the Falcons to make a few "depth picks" at positions like safety, tight end, and linebacker. Guys like TE Ladarius Green, DT Josh Chapman, and FS George Iloka are all still on the board.