Weston Richburg, Jerry Reese and Tom Coughlin spoke on the Giants’ second-round selection of Richburg…
Q: Is this about where you expected to go and were you surprised with the Giants or did you think maybe that was a good chance?
A: I wanted to be the first center selected and it turns out I was. I’m just so excited to be selected by such a great organization.
Q: What was in like when you met with them?
A: I just met with them at the combine, we had a formal meeting at the combine, I got to speak with Coach Coughlin a bit and we talked a lot of football and film. We reviewed a lot my film and kind of just went over X and O details with those guys.
Q: What was your impression from that point?
A: You could tell how professional these guys are and how well-run the organization is. Just after seeing that, I’m so excited to be a part of it.
Q: Why was it important for you to be the first center selected?
A: I’ve always been a guy from a smaller school. Even though Colorado State is a Division 1 school, it’s in the Mountain West so we don’t get a lot of respect sometimes. When it comes to going against other big school guys, it’s always been my dream to be the best center in the country. Today I kind of got that recognition by being the first center selected.
Q: Tom Coughlin seemed to love the fact that you broke your regular snapping hand and finished the season with the other. How tough of an adjustment was that to switch hands?
A: That’s something I take a lot of pride in. You don’t see a lot of guys doing that. It was tough, it was a tough kind of change but I took it with open arms. Looking back at it, it was something that I’m really prideful about.
Q: Did you actually have a club on the broken hand while you were snapping with the other?
A: I did, yeah. A big old, goofy looking cast club type of deal on my hand.
Q: I think you started every game at Colorado State. Have you ever missed a game?
A: In high school I only played offensive line one year, my senior year. I had an ACL injury that kept me out my sophomore and junior seasons and before that I played quarterback my freshman year of high school. I’ve kind of been all over the place but when I got to college I started every game on the offensive line.
Q: Do you think you can play right away in the NFL?
A: I do, 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.
Q: How much did you pull at Colorado State and how much do you think your athleticism allows you to do that kind of stuff?
A: We pull quite a bit. Since I was able to do that, our coaches felt more comfortable using me in that type of way. It’s something I really enjoyed as well and I think I was athletic enough to get out, quick enough, and get out and set up some good blocks for our running backs on the outside.
Q: When you came into tonight did you zero in on a spot that you thought you might go? Did you think the Giants were a team that might take you?
A: I knew there were several teams that were looking at a center. I had been hearing the second round was probably a good spot for me. I didn’t really know specifically what team it would be but I knew the second round was probably going to be when I was going to get the phone call.
Q: Do you think it has helped you and your versatility in the fact that you participated in other sports in high school like throwing shot and playing basketball?
A: I think just being involved as much as you can in every sport you can be really helps your athleticism. With me, I tried to be as involved as I could be, shot put, discus, basketball kind of stuff, so yeah, as involved and active as you can be I think can definitely translate over.
Q: Did you watch the draft tonight from home? Where are you tonight?
A: I’m out in Bushland, Texas, my hometown. I’m actually at my classmate Crockett Gillmore’s house. We’ve got our families together and we’re just having a good time right now.
Q: When do you expect to be here in New York?
A: I’ll fly out on Sunday.
Q: How much more of a challenge is it without a rookie minicamp, the veterans are already going kind of into phase two of their offseason program. Have you talked to the organization about how quickly they can get you up to speed?
A: Yeah, I just talked to coach Flaherty and he said it would be kind of more difficult than normal but I think they have an understanding of what we’re going through. We’re going to work through it. Like I said, I’m just so excited to be a Giant and have an opportunity to come in there and really contribute this year.
Q: Are there any centers that you look up to or pattern your game after maybe?
A: I like the Pouncey twins a lot. I think they have a lot of really good athletic traits. I like to kind of emulate them. I like Logan Mankins. Even though he’s not a center, I think he plays really kind of nasty in the interior and I try to get after people like he does.
Q: What do you know about Eli Manning and what are your expectations? You’ll probably be spending a lot of time working with him.
A: Just talking about how great the Giants organization is, they’ve got one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL right now. It’s kind of crazy, I was just watching the Mannings the other day and now I’m going to have a chance to be snapping to the guy. To be able to learn from a guy like that as a rookie is priceless and I’m really looking forward to being around him and learning from a pro like Eli Manning.
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. 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. I’ll take any questions.
Q: You say an integral part of the new offensive scheme, can you talk a little bit about how that’s different from…?
A: Well, you know, I don’t know how different, I just know that the new coordinator likes the center to be very involved with some of the protection scheme things and this guy is really smart. He was outstanding when we interviewed him at the combine so he fits the mold of what we want, besides being a very good football player.
Q: You mean in terms of making protection calls?
Q: He had to do that for a while at Colorado State, right?
A: Yeah, I think he’s like a 50-game starter. He’s played a lot of football games out there. What we’re looking for.
Q: How much do you like the size? 6-3, 300 for a center is a little bit bigger than normal.
A: We like big guys. 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.
Q: What does this say about Walton? How has he recovered from whatever injuries he’s had? I know he hasn’t played.
A: He missed last season but he’s been out here and he looked like he was 100 percent out there. He’s doing great for us. We expect him to be the guy who Richburg is going to battle for that center position. Obviously you need depth at every position and that’s the position that we think Richburg will provide for us, some depth at center which is his natural position but we think he could play guard as well. Again, last year we had a couple injuries early on the offensive line and it was pretty devastating, 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.
Q: Were you intent on getting an offensive lineman in the first two rounds?
A: We were just intent on getting good players. We know what we feel like our needs are and positions that we need to create some depth on our roster but right now we’re focused on getting good football players and he fits the mold of being a good football player for us.
Second pick was a very good athletic young center. He was a captain and leader while being a four-year starter at Colorado State. All of the scouts raved about this guy. When the coaches got a chance to study him, he can pull, he can block the zone schemes and he makes all the calls. The center position here for us is one of responsibility in terms of dictating to the rest of the offensive line exactly how the scheme is going to go. This guy will fit right in in terms of that. Interesting story about him: He broke his right hand in 2012 and finished the year snapping the ball with his left hand, so you know he can do that as well. We feel like we have a good solid young center who is very smart. He did a good job despite his long arms on the bench press, so he is strong. He is a good worker, and as I said, he has earned his stripes. He is the leader of his offensive line and offensive team. He was voted captain. We are pleased to have Weston [Richburg] on board.
Q: At the extent to who makes the call [for the O-line] Jerry [Reese] just said that could change with the new offensive coordinator?
A: No, the center is very much involved, but in this scheme there will be more responsibility on the center.
Q: How much in regards to responsibility differs for the center? Jerry [Reese] mentioned pulling possibly. He seems more athletic than some of the centers you have had in the past.
A: There may be a possibility of [the center pulling]. He can [pull] if asked to. Whether that happens or not, we will see. He does and has done that in college.
Q: Is [pulling] something that JD Walton cannot do?
A: No. Not necessarily. It is one of the attributes that is very noticeable when you do grade [Richburg], so it is worth mentioning.
Q: [Pulling] was not a trait that you thought was necessary when you think of playing center?
A: Well, it gives you more versatility. Even more, there would be no restrictions in terms of what you would ask [the center] to do. If you were going to pull or there was an opportunity based on the front you’re playing against, where the guard is not in the position to pull, then the center would or could pull. It has been done and you can count on [Richburg] to do that. He would be able to get out in front and make a block etc.
Q: The offense line in the past years has had some versatility. Richburg has had some experience playing guard. How much does that play into drafting him?
A: You always look for versatility if you have it, but this guy is a center. He has been a center, and he is a young center in the fold here. We are first and foremost going to talk about him as a center.
Q: Was he the top player on your board coming into today?
A: I am not going to go into where he was [on our board]. He was among those at the top.
Q: How about his size? He seems to be bigger than most centers at 6-3 300 pounds.
A: Pro Bowl centers are 304-305 [pounds]. He is right in there.