Richburg Could Be The Missing Piece That The Lions Need On Their Offensive Line.
The Detroit Lions currently do not have a center signed for the 2018 season and as Travis Swanson has seemed to regress, the best option in free agency appears to be approximately 600 miles away in East Rutherford, New Jersey: Weston Richburg.
Richburg could immediately provide depth to the offensive line as he has played both guard and center in the NFL but like Swanson, has had some injury problems within the past year. As Matt Patricia prepares to get to work in Detroit, he definitely understands the importance of a high caliber, intelligent center who has been successful in the NFL but he knows the league is a “what have you done for me lately” business.
I have watched four of Richburg’s games from the 2017 season and have prepared an in-depth report to tell you exactly what he has done lately in the NFL.
Name: Weston Richburg
DOB: 11-09-1991 (26 years old)
College: Colorado State
Drafted: 2014 – 2nd round – New York Giants
Former Team: New York Giants
Games Played: 51
Games Started: 50
2017- Concussion (Weeks 4-17 – IR)
2016- No Injuries
2015- Ankle (Weeks 12 – OUT, 13)
2014- Ankle (Week 10)
2017- Played and started 4 games, had 1 penalty for 5 yards, and did not allow any sacks
2016- Played and started all 16 games, had 2 penalties for 30 yards, and allowed 1 sack.
2015- Played 15 games, started 15, had 3 penalties (1 false start, 2 holding) for 25 yards, and did not allow any sacks
2014- Played 16 games, started 15, had 6 penalties (2 false start, 3 holding) for 55 yards, and allowed 2 sacks
Career- 12 penalties for 115 yards, 3 false starts, 5 holdings, 3 sacks allowed for 25.50 yards
Weight: 298 lbs.
40-yard dash: 5.10
10-yard split: 1.84
Arm Length: 33 3/8’’
Hand Size: 9 ¼”
3 Cone: 7.93
Short Shuttle: 4.63
Broad Jump: 106’’
Bench Press: 25 reps
2017- @ DAL 09/10, vs DET 09/18, @ PHI 09/24, @ TB 10/01
Best: Competitive Toughness, Mental Processing, UOH, Gap Block, Zone/Space Block, Pass Pro, and Anchor
Athletic Ability: 5/7
Mental Processing: 5/7
Competitive Toughness: 5/7
Play Speed: 5/7
Play Strength: 5/7
Use of Hands (UOH): 5/7
Gap Block: 5/7
Zone Block: 5/7
Pass Protection: 6/7
Richburg is a fourth-year player who played and started the first four games for the New York Giants before suffering a season-ending concussion. Under offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, the Giants struggled on offense before trying more two tight end and two running back sets in 2017 which allowed for more gap running plays to occur with some occasional zone scheme mixed in.
Although the entire offensive line did not do its part and McAdoo gave up the play calling, Richburg did a good job before suffering an injury. In four years and over 50 games, he has only given up three sacks and did not give up a sack in 2017. He has adequate size as his height (6’3’’), weight (298), and hand size (9 ¼’’) are all below standards, but his arm length is solid at 33 3/8”. He makes up for his lack of ideal size with good athletic ability as he displays good agility, explosiveness, quickness, and really good balance.
Richburg is a good gap blocker as he displays good initial quickness off the ball, good footwork/technique, good execution and ability to sustain blocks, and very good ability to finish blocks. He displays good hip explosion and power at the point of attack on base blocks, down blocks, and double teams. He shows good ability to cover single lane runs on power, counter, trap, and displays very good ability at blocking back on a 2 or 3-tech.
He is a good zone blocker due to very good initial quickness, very good footwork/technique as he takes correct steps to be in position and gives the running back room to work off his block on inside zone, outside zone, and split zone, and has good ability to sustain the block and finish. Richburg is a very good combo blocker as he secures the block at the first level before climbing and then once at the second level does a good job of taking the right angle, uses very good footwork, and wins at the point of attack.
He is solid at reach blocks due to the angles he takes, getting his helmet in solid positions to get in front of the defender, and eventually turning the defender back to open lanes for the running back. Richburg displays very good ability to get out to the perimeter and execute, sustain, and finish blocks in the screen game. His use of hands against the run is good as he shows good timing, hand placement, strength, lock out, control, and ability to steer in both gap and zone schemes.
Richburg is very good in pass protection due to initial quickness, above average set points, very good pad level, and very good foot quickness. His use of hands in pass protection is great as he has very good timing, placement, lock out, and control to neutralize a pass rusher. He has good anchor ability as he holds his ground against both power/bull rushes, centers himself, keeps the pocket intact, and uses good lower body strength to keep his quarterback from getting hit.
Richburg displays good competitive toughness against the run and pass as he is consistently physically tough, competes at a high level on every play, and is mentally tough to eliminate penalties. He displays good mental processing against the run and pass as he does an above average job of keeping his eye on linebackers in zone schemes and he always looks for work in pass protection while diagnosing stunts/delayed blitzes. Richburg displays good play strength as he wins his 1 v 1 battles in running and passing situations, he wins at the point of attack, and he will battle until the end of every play for his teammates.
Overall, Richburg is a starting center you can win with in either a gap or zone scheme due to his competitive toughness, mental processing, ability to play a zone or gap scheme, hand usage, pass protection, and anchor ability. Richburg would be an immediate upgrade to the offensive line and would be able to give the Lions a very good center for a relatively cheap price.
His contract last season for the New York Giants was only $1.5 million and with missing 12 games to a concussion, he could be forced to take a league minimum deal or a deal around $1 million. The Lions should pounce on this (no pun intended) and even if they have to outbid another team, Richburg will be well worth it. It is very hard to find a cheap, reliable, and efficient center in the NFL but Richburg fits that perfectly and would allow the Lions to focus on spending bigger money on other important positions such as the defensive line.