Weston Richburg was my top center in this year's NFL draft and one that I had a solid second-round grade on. Coincidentally, he was also the 43rd overall pick for the New York Giants. Why? Simply because he was a tremendous fit for what I believe offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo will want to do.
So let's look at film of Richburg. I chose to make sections from the Alabama game because that will closely resemble the type of talent and power that Richburg will face in the NFL.
His movement skills and ability to get downfield to block are the best in this draft. Bar none.
You can see him get into his set as he snaps the ball, read the play, and then navigate through the traffic and make a good block. The runner went to the wrong side on this play, if he had cut inside, Richburg bought him at least another five yards. This is what makes me excited about him.
Again, here we're going to see him get out past the line of scrimmage and he's going to get to the second level and spring the running back. He does this quite routinely.
His awareness in terms of identifying blockers is very strong. He has good vision downfield and knows his protections, and that's what allows him to get out in front. You don't see very many college centers able to do this, he's one of the few that does.
Another one of his strengths is his seal blocking. He's a great run blocker if you know how to use him properly. Don't make him drive off the ball. Let the defense do the work for him because he has masterful technique when it comes to simple redirection and sticking.
Look at how he just engages and lets the defensive player rush past the gap and doesn't allow him to drive in. He stands him up perfectly on this running play.
Finally, what I really like about him is his ability to pass protect. He's not the best at taking on nose tackles powerful enough to physically push him back, but he's more than above average at taking on players with good first steps and standing them up. Take a look at this GIF.
The left guard is supposed to help him with the 1 technique on this play, but really just doesn't. Richburg doesn't need him. You see classic knee bend, squared up, good hand fighting, and that technique is what really drove the Giants to take him early.
The biggest issue with Richburg is his strength. He's not a power scheme player and it shows.
Watch as Richburg tries to drive No. 99 only to get pushed backwards. It didn't really affect the play here, but it clearly shows that brute strength is not his game.
Sometimes, Richburg also overextends and as a result he gets knocked down too easily. You never want to see that. He does it here:
It again shows his lack of strength and so his technique fails him, and you see him end up on the ground. I do have to say, however, that this is very, very rare. I rarely saw him on the ground that much.
Richburg, I think, is a player who is both polished in some areas, and needs polish in others. I think as far as the intangibles go, regarding awareness on run blocking, intelligence for pass protection schemes, and taking good angles out into space, you won't find many better. He's polished in his pass protection technique. He's a smooth mover, which really shows off some nice athleticism. He moves without hesitation and he doesn't look stiff. That really excites me.
At the same time, he could stand to get stronger. He gets shoved back when he tries to drive a defender off the ball. Sometimes, when he's out to help a teammate, he neglects to pick up a blitzer so his awareness in pass protection could use some coaching up.Overall, however, I struggle to find any holes in his game that can't be fixed. He seems to have the requisite athleticism, toughness, and intelligence to be very good, for quite some time. We can argue about the upside with this pick, but for these reasons, I don't think he's a bad one at all.