After a flurry of trades that included division rival Dallas and Philadelphia jumping in front of the Giants to make second round selections, the team went on the clock at 7:54 PM and made their selection almost immediately, taking Colorado State center Weston Richburg. It fills one of their glaring needs as the only center on the roster with game experience is JD Walton, who has not played in a game since September 2012 due to injuries.
The Selection: A fifty game starter and team captain for Colorado State, Richburg made all the calls for the offensive line. When he broke his hand in 2011 and was unable to snap the ball, he played left tackle and right guard for the final three games of the season. Richburg is not seen as an elite athlete and is not viewed by some scouts as an immediate starter. Jerry Reese must disagree with that assessment as he will have every opportunity to win the starting job given the thin competition at center.
Richburg’s college achievements were devalued by NFL scouts due to the level of the competition, but his outstanding senior bowl performance showed he is able to play at a higher level and elevated him to the second round of the draft.
Who They Passed Up: Alabama Left Tackle Cyrus Kouandjio was on the board and went to the Bills on the very next pick. The Giants may have been scared off by his history of knee injuries. Gil Brandt commented that he has an arthritic knee condition that will severely limit his career longevity. Raw tackle prospect Morgan Moses was also available. Several defensive lineman with first round talent slid to the Giants slot, the surprising of which is Kony Ealy, the Missouri defensive end. Tight ends Jace Amaro, picked by the Jets in slot 49, and Troy Niklas were also on the board when the Giants picked.
Expert Rankings: Richburg is the second center and 62nd player on NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock’s top 100 list. Gil Brandt of nfl.com and SiriusXM radio has Richburg ranked 67th, but the top overall center on his top 125 players of the 2014 draft.
Current Giant Most Effected: Dallas Reynolds, backup center. If JD Walton is healthy, he will have the first opportunity to start. Richburg was drafted in the second round to serve as backup and will displace Reynolds on the roster. If he proves a capable long snapper, he might also take Zak DeOssie’s spot and save the team $750,000 in cap space.
This was a need pick but also represents some value as Richburg is viewed by many as the top center in this year’s draft. While capable of playing guard, Richburg will be used as a center and have responsibility for making calls in Ben McAdoo’s new offense. His intelligence, leadership, toughness, and versatility make him a great addition to the Giants.