Center Position Weak After Konz

Mel Kiper doesn’t see another center getting drafted until the fifth round.

Posted by Garrett Downing on Saturday, March 17th, 2012 at 9:07 am | Categories: 2012 Offseason, Garrett Downing

The Ravens locked up their starting center Matt Birk yesterday with a new three-year contract. Before that, center was a position of some uncertainly and a number of mock drafts have the Ravens targeting Wisconsin center Peter Konz with their first-round pick.

Even with Birk returning, center is still a position of need – General Manager Ozzie Newsome said the Ravens are planning to add a center this offseason – and Konz is widely regarded as the best in the draft.

But if Konz is off the board before Baltimore picks at No. 29, or if the Ravens decide to go a different direction, then the rest of the center crop is weak, according to ESPN’s Mel Kiper.

“There’s a big drop off in center,” Kiper said. “It’s a weak position. There are a lot more late-round guys than early-round guys.”

After Konz, Kiper said the next best center prospect on his board is David Molk out of Michigan.

Molk (6-foot-2, 286 pounds), Kiper said, is not likely to get drafted until the fifth round.

“You have the top center in Peter Konz, then you have a drop to David Molk out of Michigan, who I believe is the second best center even though he may not go until the fifth round,” Kiper said.

Although Molk may not get taken until later in the draft, that doesn’t necessarily mean he wouldn’t be a good fit for the Ravens. With Birk back in Baltimore next season, then he could potentially start while the Ravens groom Molk to take the starting job when he retires. Also, Molk has experience in the zone-blocking scheme, which the Ravens run.

“Molk is very intelligent,” Kiper said. “There’s a lot of football intelligence there. He’d fit, obviously, a zone-blocking scheme.”

Kiper compared Molk to longtime Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday, who was undrafted out of college but has gone on to play 13 NFL seasons and make five Pro Bowls.

“If Molk’s in the fifth-round area, I think he’s a heck of a choice,” Kiper said.

After Molk, the talent at the position continues to decline, Kiper said, as he expects a handful of players to be in the mix to get drafted in the sixth and seventh rounds.

“You have a lot of late-round centers who will just be battling to get drafted,” he said.

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