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Big Blue Morning: Center competition

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- In case you missed it, I posted this story Tuesday afternoon on New York Giants guard Geoff Schwartz and rookie center Weston Richburg and the help they're getting from former NFL offensive lineman LeCharles Bentley.

Bentley has a lot of good things to say about Richburg, which isn't surprising, since that's his guy. And the Giants liked Richburg enough to use the No. 43 pick in the draft on him a couple of weeks ago. But he's not 100 percent set as their starting center, since they signed former Broncos center J.D. Walton earlier in the offseason and he's not giving up the job without a fight.

"Same with any team I'm on. I'm going to bust my butt," Walton said Tuesday. "Based on what I've done in the past, I expect to be the starter."

Walton said he was not bothered by the fact that the Giants used such an early draft pick on a player who plays his position.

"Nothing wrong with competition," Walton said. "He's a good kid. That elevates everyone."

For his part, rookie Richburg is saying all the right things. All of the Giants' offensive players are learning a new system under new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, and the rookies are a couple of weeks behind the veterans who have been working at the facility for the past month. Asked about the perception of himself as "pro-ready," Richburg demurred.

"I don't know if anybody's pro-ready, because the players are so much better and faster and stronger at this level," Richburg said. "I think there are people that are more well-prepared than others. I'm going to work hard just like I did in college. I'm going to have to earn what I want."

The Giants will hold an open competition between these two to replace David Baas as their starting center. I still favor Richburg, since he appears to have been drafted with this offensive system in mind. But Walton has played in the league (albeit not for two years due to injury) and obviously can't be discounted. The Giants are pleased to have choices.