Justin Pugh was drafted 19th overall in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. What role will the versatile offensive lineman play, and how quickly will he play it? Let's look at Pugh as we continue our player-by-player breakdown of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp later this month at the Timex Performance Center.
2012 Season In Review
Pugh finished his Syracuse University career with 34 consecutive starts, and was All-Big East for three consecutive seasons with the Orange. Per Giants.com, Pugh had 13 blocks that resulted in touchdowns and 102 knockdowns while playing left tackle for Syracuse in 2012.
Pugh worked exclusively at right tackle during OTAs and mini-camp, and will compete with incumbent David Diehl and James Brewer for that job. There have also been some indications that Pugh will get some work on the left side, possibly at guard, once training camp opens. That would make sense as last season's starter at left guard, Kevin Boothe, has had to play center as David Baas continues to recover from various offseason surgeries. Baas is expected back during camp.
Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride seemed to indicate during mini-camp that it would be difficult for Pugh to earn a starting job right away.
"What has he been playing now – 10 years? He has been a starter. I think it is going to be very difficult for someone to unseat him, but certainly Justin was brought in for just that reason – to earn a starting position. Not necessarily to unseat David, because David can move inside and be a guard for us.," Gilbride said. "So it looks like Justin has enough ability – until you put the pads on, you know – but it looks like he moves well enough. He looks like he is intelligent enough – it looks like he is focused, professional, determined. So I would be surprised if he doesn’t come into play for us down the road."
Very difficult does not mean impossible, Giants' fans. Have patience if Pugh does not start right away. He will get his opportunity.