Several of the Ravens' top decision makers predictably didn't tip their hands at their annual draft luncheon yesterday in Owings Mills.
However, as General Manager Ozzie Newsome, Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta, Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz and head coach John Harbaugh took turns answering questions from reporters in Owings Mills, the Ravens had a representative in Madison, Wisconsin, where former Badgers center Peter Konz was working out for teams.
The Ravens are also expected to bring Konz to Owings Mills for an official visit ahead of the draft, more proof that the center is definitely on the team's radar for possible selection with the 29th pick on April 29.
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Asked specifically about the draft's interior offensive line class, DeCosta mentioned Konz along with several others.
"I think there are some good players," he said. "Obviously, [David] DeCastrofrom Stanford is a guy that a lot of teams are looking at as a guard. He's a tough guy, a good player. [Kevin] Zeitlerfrom Wisconsin is another guard - a good player, had a good week at the Senior Bowl. [He] played really well in the game, not as well in the practices. He's a good player. I think his teammate Konz is another good player at center. He's had some injuries. All those guys, you figure they're picked in the latter half of the first round, the early part of the second round. Another guy is Cordy Glenn from Georgia. He's played some tackle, he's played some guard. He's a swing guy. He'll probably get picked between pick 15 and pick 35, right in that range, too."
A dislocated ankle prevented Konz from doing anything at Wisconsin's Pro Day early last month, and prompted him to appear at a workout for teams yesterday.
Though his status may have slipped a little in recent weeks according to draft pundits, he is still considered the top center available. He also remains the player most connected to the Ravens at pick 29.
Veteran center Matt Birk re-signed with the team, but there are no guarantees that he plays beyond the 2012 season and Newsome has talked about adding another center to the roster.
There is also the option of using Konz at left guard, where the Ravens have yet to replace Pro Bowl performer Ben Grubbs, and then sliding him over to center when Birk is ready to retire. DeCosta said yesterday that he feels Konz could handle the transition.
“He’s got the size. He’s 6-5, 315 pounds. That’s to me a big indicator if a guy can do it," DeCosta said. "That’s one of those things where sometimes, there is a wait-and-see. We’ve considered all those different things. It’s a matter of working a guy out sometimes, putting him through the paces at the position. I think he’s played a little bit of guard in his past. I don’t know that it’s a really hard transition, center and guard. Other than the fact that you have to snap the ball, some of the same skill sets are there. I don’t think it’s a huge transition.”