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Draft Chat: Talking Justin Pugh, Ryan Nassib with Troy Nunes' Jared Smith

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Jared Smith of Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician knows the Syracuse football program as well as anyone. Here are his thoughts on Justin Pugh and Ryan Nassib.


The New York Giants' first- and fourth-round picks in the 2013 NFL Draft -- offensive lineman Justin Pugh and quarterback Ryan Nassib, respectively -- come from Syracuse University. With that in mind I reached out to Jared Smith, a contributor for SB Nation's Syracuse web site, Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician, for some comment. Jared also covered the Orange for SB Nation New York the past two seasons, so he knows the team as well as anyone.

Here are the results of our chat:

Ed: So, let's start with Justin Pugh. Your thoughts on whether or not you were surprised he was taken that early in the draft.

Jared: I was slightly surprised he went with the 19th overall pick. Pre-draft I thought he'd go maybe late first round early second round, however, the draft's early run on offensive linemen vaulted him to the top of draft boards. He eventually became the best linemen available, though you could argue he was maybe the best guard/center prospect in the draft.
Ed: In your mind what is his best position ultimately at the NFL level? He seems likely to begin at right tackle.
Jared: In my opinion, I see Justin eventually being a center. He just has all the attributes -- smarts, leadership skills, etc. -- to be a center, but he has never played center before so that is somewhere done the road. He can also play right tackle and any of the guard spots. I think he may -- and this is a complete guess -- struggle at tackle because of his measurements, but if that doesn't work out he will be a fantastic guard.
Ed: What should Giants fans know about him personality-wise? anything interest or off-beat about the guy? He seems like a straight arrow who wants to be a solid pro.

Jared: Justin is a fantastic guy and quite a character. (To give you an idea of his personality, check out my podcast I did with him after the NFL Combine He will be a guy that the media goes to for a quote or an honest opinion on something. He is a pretty solid guy to follow on Twitter (@JustinPugh67). As you know by now, he's a Philly guy, so he also has a hard-nosed attitude too.
Ed: Let's talk about Ryan Nassib. What is the reaction around Syracuse/Central New York to the fact that Doug Marrone passed him by in the draft?
Jared: For sure, it is added fuel to the Doug-Marrone-hating fire. Most Syracuse fans, I would say, understand why Marrone left for the NFL -- it is the NFL -- and took most of his staff with him. If Syracuse fans were like me, as most are Buffalo Bills fans as well, they were will to sorta overlook everything if he formed a new, quasi-relationship with Nassib in Buffalo. Instead, he decided to take the guy with the best upside and completely forget about what the pair did in their final season at Syracuse, which was historical. But, with that said, all the "Nassib might be the first quarterback off the board rumors," was just that. As much as we loved what Nassib did, he had a lot of noticeable flaws that would stick out like a sore thumb in the NFL.
Ed: So, talk about those flaws. What do the Giants have in Nassib? And, in the end, was he selected probably around where his talent should have indicated?
Jared: The flaws Nassib has are his inability to be accurate on deep throws -- he tends to underthrow receivers, even though he has the arm to throw a good deep ball. He also has issues with touch throws -- sometimes he pitches a fastball when it should be a nice change-up or visa versa. He's not the most athletic guy either. (Sure he ran some spread at SU, but he was never a threat to create with his legs.) Nassib did struggle at times to make the right decisions on the field, but literally from Syracuse 2-4 start from last season on he was stellar in decision making.
Ed: What is his ceiling? What kind of NFL quarterback would you expect him to be? Career backup or a guy the Giants will eventuallytrade so he can start somewhere?
Jared: That's the best thing about Ryan -- he has the potential to be a solid starter in the NFL. Now, I think the only reason some saw him as a first-rounder is because the Buffalo Bills could have offered him a place to pick up right where he left off. That was the only situation in which he could have started right away, because he knows the ins and outs of what is going on. If that didn't happen, he needed to be in a place, like New York, where he could learn the game from good coaches, veteran quarterbacks and develop his physical tools. There's no doubt in my mind that Nassib could win games as a starter in the NFL, but, right now, that's down the road. It is tough to see the Giants getting any trade value out of him because he will not get a chance to play a lot, unless of course, Manning gets injured and Nassib is the backup. What the Giants will get is a guy that can develop into a very solid No. 2 and can count on if something does happen to their No. 1 guy.

Me: Thanks. Anything you really want to add about either guy?
Jared: The only thing I have to add is that both players are extremely hard workers and great "character" guys. They are perfect fits for Tom Coughlin and the way he runs a football team. The Giants got two great players that should live up to where they were drafted.