Name: Weston Richburg
School: Colorado State
Size: 6'4, 300 lbs
Expected Round: Top 100
Strengths: Quick and active feet. Works well with his adjacent linemen and provides solid seals to open running lanes. Can hold the line of scrimmage without moving. Stays on his feet. Gets to the second level. Fights through the whistle. Able to pull block. Extremely quick, likely one of the top athletes out of offensive linemen. Has snapped shotgun/pistol/under center. Mountain strong. Experienced. Rarely penalized. Team captain.
Weaknesses: Not efficient with his movements and can be beaten by quicker defensive tackles, even though it's a rare occurance. Extremely raw as a prospect. Played in a lesser conference, although he more than held his own against Alabama.
What is their role? Richburg is a day one starter at center. He flashes some of the most upside in the draft, but his school's stature will likely hold him back from being a top selection.
Will it change from year 1 to year 2? With a year of polish and experience at a high level, expect Richburg to go from "good center" to "great center".
How many downs can he play? He's a four down guy. Three at center, and can be an additional blocker in the kicking game.
What’s his ST value? He's an additional blocker in the kicking game. Could be part of the "wedge" on the kick return unit.
Does he have positional versatility? He's a long-time starter at center in college (started every single game at the position in college). He has the athleticism and flexibility to play emergency guard.
Why the Patriots? The Patriots need to find a stalwart center. Ryan Wendell and Dan Connolly just haven't been able to provide an elite level of play and Richburg can step on the field and play just as well as both of them- with considerably more upside. He has the strength to square up against nose tackles of all calibers (something Wendell struggled with this season), and the quickness to defend against the quicker defensive tackles. He's a hard worker and would definitely fit in with the rest of the offensive line. If the Patriots can grab him in the third round (with some maneuvering), they'll have themselves a long time starter at center.
Why not the Patriots? His stock has been on the rise. He might be a second round pick at this point and the Patriots might want to go in a different direction in the first two rounds. Also, the Patriots might not feel as comfortable taking an unpolished lineman while the offensive line coaching position undergoes turnover (I don't believe in this as an excuse at all).
Verdict: Richburg would be a fantastic selection for the Patriots and they should definitely have their eyes on him. Odds aren't great on him sliding to their third round pick, so they'll likely have to do some wheeling-and-dealing in order to get him at the market value (which is extremely underpriced). He's a day one starter and I believe he could be the best interior lineman in this draft. If the Patriots consider interior lineman as an important position to upgrade, there's no one better than Richburg.