The New York Giants made a move to get younger at the center spot, taking the second-highest rated center off the board, according to NFL Draft Scout, in Colorado State’s Weston Richburg, (6’3”, 298 lbs).
“We like big guys,” general manager Jerry Reese told reporters after the pick was announced. “We like big and fast and smart and tough—we like all that. The thing about him, he’s got long arms. His arms are almost 34-inch arms. Most centers’ arms are not that long, so that’s a bonus in itself.”
Another bonus is Richburg’s ability to pull and get to the second level. His NFL bio, which was distributed via hard copy to reporters, noted that seven of Richburg’s 17 touchdown-resulting blocks came down the field.
“There aren’t a lot of centers with experience who can go out there and pull,” Reese said. “This guy can go out there and pull and get out there to the perimeter. He was an ideal pick for us, a clean pick for us.”
If that’s not enough for the Giants, who plan to keep Richburg at center for the time being, they will also benefit from the center's great toughness.
Head coach Tom Coughlin revealed that Richburg suffered a broken right hand in 2012, which is the hand he snaps with, but still went on to finish the season snapping the ball with his left hand.
“That’s something I take a lot of pride in,” Richburg said when asked about the incident on a conference call with reporters. “It was a tough kind of change, but I took it with open arms. Looking back, I’m really proud of that.”
Richburg will compete with projected starter J.D. Walton for the starting job. Worth noting is that offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s offense gives the center a little more responsibility in making the protection calls than what former offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride’s system allowed.
If he doesn’t win the starting job, he figures to play a key role in providing depth, according to Reese.
“Last year, we had a couple injuries early on the offensive line, and it was pretty devastating,” he said. “We had to bring some guys in that struggled some at those positions, so we’re trying to make sure we have enough depth at every position. This guy will help provide that for us.”
Richburg said he’s looking forward to coming in and getting started, and he didn’t’ seem to mind all that much that he wouldn’t have the benefit of a rookie minicamp to help get his feet wet.
“I think I can come in and contribute, but it’s going to take a lot of work,” he said. “That’s something that has carried me so far—my work ethic. It’s my job to come in, lift weights, watch film and play football.”
Patricia Traina is the senior editor for Inside Football. All quotes and information were obtained firsthand, unless otherwise noted.
Follow me on Twitter: @Patricia_Traina.