Entering into the second round of the NFL Draft, the New York Giants had question marks at both center and guard. Free-agent acquisition J.D. Walton last played two years ago, and Chris Snee is coming off an injury-riddled 2014 season.
So, the team selected a player who could play both positions. With the 43 overall pick, the Giants made Weston Richburg, a center out of Colorado State University, the latest addition to an overhauled offensive line.
"He's a versatile player and a very good athlete," Giants' general manager Jerry Reese said. "He can play guard or center."
The 6-3, 298-pound Texas native will compete with Walton for the starting position in the middle of the Giants' offensive line. Reese said the position will have more responsibility under new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo.
"(McAdoo) likes the center to be very involved with some of the protection scheme things and this guy is really smart," Reese said. "He was outstanding when we interviewed him at combine so he fits the mold of what we want."
Reese and Giants' coach Tom Coughlin talked about Richburg's ability to pull as a key reason the team elected to chose him with their second-round pick. At 6-3, Richburg has the size, but is also quick, allowing him to be successful in a zone-blocking scheme.
"All the scouts raved about this guy," Coughlin said. "He can pull, he can block the zone schemes and he can make the calls at the center position."
In 2012, Richburg broke his right hand. Instead of missing time, the 22-year-old simply casted-up his right hand and snapped with his left.
"That was something I take a lot of pride in because you don't see a lot of guys doing that," Richburg said. "It was tough, it was a tough kind of change, but I took it with open arms."
Richburg is the first center selected in the draft, a goal he admitted was his entering Friday evening.
"I've always been a guy from a smaller school, even though Colorado State is Division I, we're from the Mountain West so we don't get a lot of respect when it comes to going against other big-school guys," Richburg said. "It's always been my dream to be the best center in the country and today I kind of got that recognition by being the first center selected."