New York Giants Director of College Scouting Marc Ross echoed the sentiments of others in the organization Thursday night that first-round pick Justin Pugh is a "clean player" whose versatility will be an asset along the offensive line. Here is the complete text of Ross's remarks.
Q: What were your general impressions of Justin Pugh?
A: Justin just is, I'm sure Coach and Jerry have said, is clean - is just a clean player. For us that means he was productive on tape, he plays hard, he's smart, he's athletic, he's physical, he's a great kid, he doesn't have any issues and he has a lot of upside. When you go down the checklist of positives that you look for, he had most of those attributes.
Q: Did you think some of the tackles that were taken earlier in the draft were going to be available at 19?
A: No, we thought pretty much that some of those guys were going to go quick, that the four who went were going to go pretty much where they did, and even the guards.
Q: Is it a strength that he can play a number of positions?
A: For us, I think he has the skillset to play anywhere along the line, and whatever our coaches feel is the biggest need to put him at next year, I think he can do that - from left tackle to center to right tackle to guard, he really has... because he's so smart, so technique-sound and so athletic, it's definitely a positive to be able to do that.
Q: Do you normally see a guy like that go in the first round?
A: No. Most of these guys are what they are - they're a right tackle, they're a center. This guy is the most versatile offensive lineman in our eyes. Other teams may feel differently, but that's the way we felt, that he was the most versatile.
Q: Why did you like this kind of player?
A: Because in a year who knows what our needs will be. Just having a guy that even during a game, if your center goes down, he can go in there and move wherever you want him to go. And there's nothing wrong with having a top notch left tackle, if that's what he is. This just added to it. This isn't the only reason why we liked it. It just added to him.
Q: Jerry Reese said he needs to get stronger, but there are a lot of players like him. Is there a goal in mind?
A: That's up to our strength coaches once they get here. And he was coming off a shoulder injury earlier in the year. He missed the first four games. We don't think this year was a true indication. He kept getting better, getting stronger throughout the year and into his whole career, I think his body will fill out more and get stronger once he can fully workout with the shoulder. But even in today's game, those top tackles that got taken, power's not really their game. [D.J.] Fluker was the power guy, but those other guys were more athletic types of tackles.
Q: What makes you confident that he can play multiple positions?
A: He did it at the Senior Bowl. He played a bunch of different positions at practice and during the game. And then his intelligence, he had one of the higher test scores this year. Just talking to him, communicating with him at the combine, it will be an easy transition for him.