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2013 NFL Draft: Justin Pugh brings versatility to Giants' offensive line

New York Giants' first-round draft choice Justin Pugh said Thursday night he is confident he can play anywhere on the offensive line.

Giants fans at Radio City Music Hall react to the selection of Justin Pugh
Giants fans at Radio City Music Hall react to the selection of Justin Pugh

Justin Pugh, selected in the first round of the 2013 NFL: Draft by the New York Giants(19th overall) on Thursday night, said in a post-draft conference call that he believes he "can play all five positions on the offensive line."

"Coming in, I’m just going to compete wherever they want me to," Pugh said. "I really just want to come in and show what I’ve got."

'I think he [Pugh] has the skill set to play anywhere along the line.' - Marc Ross, Giants college scouting director

It seems most likely that Pugh will begin his Giants career at right tackle, although coach Tom Coughlin said Thursday that "we will look at the rest of the draft and see what happens to come our way. And at the end of that we will assess our depth and see where we think we should start him out."

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Giants Director of College Scouting Marc Ross indicated that Pugh was the "most versatile" of any of the nine offensive linemen selected Thursday in the first round.

"I think he has the skill set 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," Ross said. "In a year who knows what our needs will be."

Here is more from Pugh's Q&A with reporters late Thursday night.

Did you have a lot of contact with the Giants before the draft?

I talked to these guys at the combine but never had a private workout. I had a decent amount of contact but not as much as with some of the other teams. It wasn’t a surprise. I kind of heard that they liked me at that spot. It was awesome to get that call. Obviously with Coach Coughlin being a Syracuse guy, that makes it even better.

Do you think you could be a starter as a rookie?

Yes. I think I can come in and compete. I’m confident in my abilities to start but also, at the same time, whatever the coaches want me to do, I’m willing to do and take on that role happily.

They said at the combine, the first question you were asked was about the most notable Syracuse alum you knew…

Yeah, the first thing that came out of my mouth was Coach Coughlin. Everybody started laughing and they said, ‘Welcome to the New York Giants.’ I guess I should have seen that as a little bit of a sign that they might be targeting me. So I guess it turned out real well. As soon as I got the phone call, my stepdad said ‘it was a good thing you answered that question the way you did because obviously it got them very interested in you.’

RE: Shoulder Injury

My shoulder is 100 percent. Obviously, I came back and played in the last nine games, was All-Conference and played in our bowl game. I did 225 (pounds) 22 times, which is what I was at before (the injury). Obviously, I’m working on getting stronger, I did more reps since that, I’ve done 24. So my shoulder is a 100 percent, no worries there.

With six offensive linemen going early, did you start to wonder if you were going to go in the first round?

When you see six offensive linemen get taken, obviously it shows the depth of the tackle class this year, the offensive line in general. So I knew there was a possibility that I would be the next offensive lineman/tackle off the board. You never want to get too overconfident because football has a way of humbling you. I was getting nervous as every pick went by, saying ‘is this going to be the one?’ I saw that 201 area code and my buddy is right from that area, so I knew it was from the Giants.

Are you a fan of the Giants by any chance?

I grew up in Philadelphia as an Eagles fan, but last year I told myself, I’m not a fan of anyone else anymore, whomever I’m going to, I’m going to become a fan of that organization. I’m a fan of winning, so I’m ready to get there and compete and win.