0

Falcons pick Wisconsin OL Konz in Draft Day 2

FLOWERY BRANCH -- Peter Konz wasn't expecting a call from the Falcons on Friday. He said he hadn't heard from the team before the NFL draft.

Konz, the Wisconsin center who may play guard in Atlanta, said it was a surprise when he was picked by the Falcons in the second round. He said he was told by his agent, Joe Flanagan, the Falcons are "one of those teams that won't talk to you through the whole process but will pick you."

"That's kind of what happened," Konz said in a telephone interview. "It was a surprise, but it was a great surprise."

Atlanta made Konz (6-5, 314) the 55th overall pick and the team's first selection.

The Falcons continued to work on improving their offensive line when they selected tackle Lamar Holmes from Southern Miss in the third round.

Holmes (6-5, 323) played two years at Southern Miss and was a first-team All-Conference USA selection by the league's coaches in 2011. He transferred to Southern Miss from Itawamba Community College.

The Falcons moved down seven spots in the third round in a trade with Baltimore. Atlanta added the 29th pick of the fifth round, No. 164 overall, in the trade.

The Falcons announced Konz as a guard. He said he played only center at Wisconsin, while starting 31 of his 32 games, but also practiced at tackle and guard.

If he plays center, Konz could be an eventual replacement for Todd McClure, who is 35 and entering his 14th season. Joe Hawley moved from guard to start three games center last season when McClure was injured.

Hawley, Justin Blalock, Garrett Reynolds and Kirk Chambers are Atlanta's top returning guards.

Konz said he had not been told what position he will play in Atlanta.

"I'll do anything," Konz said. "At Wisconsin they made sure I knew tackle, guard and center. Anywhere I can help the team, that's my responsibility."

Konz was projected as a possible first-round pick.

"Just getting the opportunity is amazing," Konz said. "It doesn't matter where I fell to because I love the team that picked me. I have nothing but great respect for the organization. Now I get to help be part of a winning tradition."

Konz was the first of the Falcons' five draft picks. The team traded a seventh-round selection to the Eagles for Pro Bowl cornerback Asante Samuel on Wednesday.

The Falcons traded this year's first-round pick to select receiver Julio Jones in the first round last year.