The New York Giants made Weston Richburg the first center selected in the 2014 NFL Draft when they took him in the second round, 43rd overall. Let's look at where Richburg fits with the 2014 Giants as we continue our series of player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster that will report to training camp in less than two weeks.
2013 Season In Review
Richburg finished a stellar career at Colorado State and was considered by most to be the top draft-eligible center in the country. Richburg was a four-year starter who recorded 50 consecutive starts, never missing a game, and setting the school record for career starts (50) ... named first-team All-Mountain West in 2013 for anchoring an offensive line that paved the way for the most prolific scoring offense in school history ... The Rams rushed for their greatest per-game average (204.4) since 2002 and set a school record by averaging 470.8 total yards per game ... With Richburg at center the Rams topped the 500-yard mark eight times in 2013, most in a single season in school history.
2014 Season Preview
2014 Season Preview
2014 Season Outlook
After the Giants drafted him in the second round, general manager Jerry Reese referenced Richburg's versatility and his athleticism at 6-foot-3, 298 pounds:
"A versatile player, a really good athlete. He can play guard or center. High test score. Centers are very important, a very integral part of our new offensive scheme, so obviously we brought J.D. in as a free agent but we tried to create some depth there as well and some competition," Reese said. "This guy is a really good, athletic center. He’s one of those guys, one of those bonus guys. Not a lot of centers can pull, this guy can snap the ball and pull and get out on the perimeter. He was terrific. He was an ideal pick for us, a clean pick. A lot of things we liked about him."
Reese wasn't kidding about the versatility. During offseason practices the Giants have used Richburg at both center as the backup to J.D. Walton and at right guard, where he is among a handful of candidates to step in if injury-plagued veteran Chris Snee can't make it through the season.
Giants' offensive line coach Pat Flaherty explained during mini-camp why Richburg, following the tradition of other young Giants' linemen, is learning multiple positions:
"I don’t like them standing around. How are they going to do good standing beside me, right? You’ve got to get in there in play, especially when you’re young," Flaherty said. "You’ve got a lot of energy to do that so use your energy. It’s only going to make you better. He’s learning the position, not only at center, he’s learning at guard and he’s progressing."
Richburg is probably the center of the future for the Giants. The Giants seem inclined to have Walton as the center of the present, unless he suffers an injury Richburg proves through five preseason games to be a superior player.
A betting man might think the odds of Snee breaking down are greater than the odds of Walton, finally healthy after a serious ankle injury in 2011, breaking down. So, Richburg -- in the mix behind Snee along with Brandon Mosley and John Jerry -- could see more action at guard as a rookie.
"I think I can come in and contribute. It’s going to take a lot of work but I think that’s something that’s carried me this far is my work ethic. I enjoy working and now it’s my job, that’s even the cool part about it," Richburg said after the draft. "It’s my job to lift weights, to watch film, to get better playing football. I want to come in and try to contribute to this year and really help this organization be as successful as it can be."