As has been the modus operandi since the regular season ended, the New York Football Giants continue to acknowledge and address areas of weakness this off season and that trend continued in yesterday’s second round of the NFL draft. Following the selection of game breaking talent, Odell Beckham, Jr., in Thursday’s first round, the G-men created more training camp competition and depth by choosing Colorado State offensive center Weston Richburg with the 43rd pick.
At 6-3, 298 lbs., Richburg may need to add more muscle to his frame, but in viewing his combine workout; what stands out the most is that this former Ram appears to be incredibly athletic for a big man.
“Richburg may not be the wide body behemoth some teams want at center, but he is a monster in terms of being game-ready mentally, physically and emotionally. He will absorb the front line assignments and keep everybody alert,” said Frank Cooney of NFLDraftScout.com.
Part of Richburg’s athleticism comes from the fact that he formerly played the quarterback position as a freshman at Bushland High School in Texas, but then missed the next two seasons with a knee injury. He returned in his senior year, as a much bigger player and was moved to the offensive line.
Draft expert Rob Rang of CBS Sports compares the big Texan to Brad Meester, formerly of the Jacksonville Jaguars, “[Richburg] is durable, intelligent and a better athlete than most give him credit for; he somewhat anonymously emerged as one of the country’s best over his collegiate career, similar to the way Meester proved quietly dependable for the Jaguars.”
The center position for Big Blue was a revolving door last season, as incumbent center David Baas first injured his knee in the preseason and then suffered a neck injury that limited him as well. Further knee problems shelved Baas for the season, and he only played in three regular season games in 2013. The Giants decided to release Baas this off season, and he may not see action in the NFL this upcoming season due to his injuries.
Starting left guard Kevin Boothe and reserve center Jim Cordle, both played the position in Baas’ absence, before Cordle suffered his own season-ending torn patella tendon.
Recently, there were rumors that the Giants, who were the most active team in free agency, were targeting Cleveland’s Alex Mack and Green Bay’s Evan Dietrich-Smith. But Mack returned to Cleveland, and Dietrich-Smith ended up with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
New York did sign free agent J.D. Walton (Denver Broncos) to compete for the starting center position, but Walton has not played in two seasons, after suffering a serious ankle injury. Given the recent history with the position, the Giants may also have been drawn to Richburg by his durability, as he started in all 50 games in his college career.
In a statement released by the Giants, Richburg said, “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. 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.”