EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) – Weston Richburg approached the NFL draft with one hope in mind.
“It was always my dream to be the best center, the first center selected in the draft,” said Richburg, who played at Colorado State. “I was glad to realize that dream.”
The New York Giants selected Richburg with their second-round pick, the No. 43 selection overall, on Friday night.
The 6-foot-3, 298-pound Richburg is a versatile lineman, having played all three positions at Colorado State, but started all 14 games last year as a center.
“I’m so excited to be selected by a great organization,” Richburg said in a conference call, as he watched the draft with family and friends in his home of Bushland, Texas. “I’ve always been a guy, from a smaller school like Colorado State, who didn’t get a lot of respect. I think I can come in and contribute right away.”
Richburg started for all four years, never missing a single game, making 50 consecutive starts, even after breaking his right hand in 2012, learning to snap with his left instead.
“You don’t see a lot of guys doing that,” Richburg said. “I took it upon myself as a challenge. I wore a big old goofy looking cast club on my right hand, but I took a lot of pride in being able to play.”
Richburg was a finalist for both the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Trophy, given to the nation’s top interior linemen, in both his junior and senior seasons and was a finalist for the Rimington Trophy, presented to the nation’s top center.
The Giants’ brass was pleased to have Richburg fall to them at No. 43.
“He’s a good, athletic young center,” Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said. “All our scouts raved about him. He can get out and pull and block the zone scheme. You always like to have versatility, but he’s a center first and foremost. We’re looking at him as a center.”
“Center is an integral part of our new offensive scheme,” said Giants general manager Jerry Reese, mentioning that the Giants, under new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, will institute the West Coast offense this season.
“He does a lot of things,” Reese said of Richburg. “We like that he’s big, strong and smart. He has long arms and that’s a bonus. Richburg can come in here and battle at center. You always need depth and versatility on the offensive line.”
The Giants signed free agent veteran J.D. Walton as a projected starter at center, but Walton missed all of 2013 due to injury, so Richburg will get a chance to contend for the starting slot right away.
Richburg played in the Senior Bowl and impressed scouts at the combine in Indianapolis, helping his draft stock.
“I had a good meeting with the Giants and Coach Coughlin at the combine,” Richburg said. “We talked a lot of football, Xs and Os while watching film. I could tell then how professional these guys were.”
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