Could stand to add more bulk for heavy nose tackles
Level of competition
Summary: Richburg spent the last four years as one of the best offensive linemen in the Mountain West. A 4-year starter, he has also generated a lot of fans in the scouting community. The 2014 NFL Draft features a less than stellar class of centers, yet Richburg is an exception as a player who could be a long-term starter. His potential could turn him into a hot commodity on the second day of the 2014 NFL Draft.
As a freshman, Richburg started all 12 games in 2010 - three at guard and nine at center. He took over as the Rams' starting center in 2011 and was a Second-Team All-Mountain West selection. Richburg graded out at 90 percent in 2012, and he wasn't called for one penalty during the season.
Richburg played very well in 2013. The Rams averaged 461 yards per game during the regular season. The senior led a line that allowed only 20 sacks and averaged 200 yards rushing per game. He had an impressive outing against Boise State, but didn't have his best performance against Washington State in his bowl game.
However, Richburg bounced back and played well in the Senior Bowl. He showed off a nice combination of strength, athleticism, quickness and balance. Richburg locked up his ranking as at least the second-ranked center, and some teams could prefer him to Travis Swanson depending on their scheme.
Richburg is very well rounded as a good run-blocker and pass-protector. When hitting double-teams with a guard, Richburg is very tough and is able to open up holes at the point of attack with bump blocks. He also has scheme flexibility with the athleticism to play in a zone scheme and the strength to play in a man scheme.
For the NFL, Richburg looks like a player who would be ready to compete quickly. He could start out his career at guard if need be, but he looks like a long-term starter at center. Richburg could go in the second round and shouldn't fall lower than midway through the third round.
Player Comparison: Scott Wells/Evan Dietrich-Smith. Wells and Dietrich-Smith are the two centers who Richburg reminds me of. That's high praise because those are two of the top centers in the NFL when healthy.
The reason Richburg reminds me of them is his well-rounded play. Both Wells (6-2, 302) and Dietrich-Smith (6-2, 308) are balanced as run- and pass-blockers. They have good technique, athleticism and balance. Richburg is practically the same size and could end up playing heavier than either of those veterans. In the NFL, I think Richburg will turn into a center who is comparable to either of those veterans.
NFL Matches: Atlanta, Jacksonville, Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, Green Bay, San Francisco
There are a number of teams that need a new center. Atlanta never adequately replaced Todd McClure, and WalterFootball.com heard from sources that the Falcons want to improve the interior of their offensive line. Drafting Richburg could give Matt Ryan a long-term center to work with, plus Atlanta's staff coached Richburg at the Senior Bowl.
The Jaguars had Brad Meester call it a career, so they'll need a new center. Baltimore really missed Matt Birk last year as Gino Gradkowski was a disappointment. The Ravens could upgrade their center position with Richburg on Day 2.
Cleveland may lose Alex Mack in free agency, which would leave big hole in the middle of the Browns offensive line. The Lions re-signed Dominic Raiola for 2014, but have to get a long-term answer at the position. Having Raiola tutor Richburg for a season before handing over the starting spot could be a great plan for Detroit.
Green Bay needs to re-sign Dietrich-Smith, and if the Packers don't get that done, they will have a big hole in front of Aaron Rodgers. Richburg would be in play for the Green Bay if Dietrich-Smith leaves.
The 49ers have a plethora of second-day picks and could use a young center. Jonathan Goodwin is 35 and won't play forever. Richburg would give San Francisco a competitor to go with Daniel Kilgore.