Despite the re-signing of veteran center Matt Birk, the Baltimore Ravens could still be looking for his eventual replacement in this year's draft. The draft class at this position is led by Wisconsin center, Peter Konz, who many have projected to go to the Ravens with their first pick at #29 of the first round. However, bringing back Birk may make that pick not as critical to utilize a first round pick on a center.
If the Ravens decide to pass on Konz in the first round and he is not still there in the second, what are the Ravens options later in the draft to bring in a rookie to learn from one of the best while watching on the sidelines for the next year? Perhaps they can try to bring in a center but start them at left guard before moving to center, like former Ravens player Jason Brown did before jumping ship in free agency.
After Konz, the guy mentioned as the next best center in this draft class is Georgia's Ben Jones. While Konz is projected as a 2nd round selection by NFL Draft Scout, Jones is looked to be a late 2nd or 3rd round pick. According to the ranking by Wes Bunting of the National Football Post, Konz and Jones are followed by a "third tier" of centers that include Michigan's David Molk, although NFL Draft Scout projects Molk as a 5th round draft pick.
The difference between the three is mostly based on game tape, where the true indication of a player's value should be determined.However, while Konz could only press the 225 pound weight bar 19 times at the NFL Scouting Combine and Jones put up 29, neither came anywhere close to Molk's 41 reps that led the Combine in 2012. Everyone knows that bench press reps do not translate into success on the NFL gridiron, and the Ravens know this as well as anyone since former Michigan Wolverine defensive lineman Will Johnson set a record with 47 reps in 2009 but couldn't make the team as an undrafted free agent.
The Ravens may still draft a center in the 2012 draft, but with other more pressing needs for this upcoming season,the odds of picking one with their first pick have now diminished, although expect the Ravens to take a shot on one of the others later in the draft.