Justin Pugh, the the New York Giants' first-round draft choice last year, has been named to the Pro Football Writers Association 2013 All-Rookie Team.So much for Pugh, taken 19th overall, being a "reach" at that spot in the 2013 NFL Draft.
"My whole goal was just to contribute and help the team win in any way possible, if it was on special teams or as a starting right tackle," Pugh said. "I wanted to play my part and show these guys that I came here to play and play well."
The pick was, largely, panned here at BBV when it was made.
Our Jesse Bartolis gave it a C/C- value in his review of the Giants' draft. Part of what Jess wrote was that he had Pugh graded as "a late-second or early third-round player and the Giants took him in the middle of the first round which is by any definition a reach." Jesse's instant reaction was even more volatile.
The first-round selection of offensive linemansurprised fans, but most analysts -- including guys like Mike Mayock and Bill Polian -- love the pick and think the guy will be a good player for a long time. That's good enough for me.
Pugh started all 16 games at right tackle. He was a) the first Giants rookie to start an entire 16-game season since defensive tackle Barry Cofield in 2006; b) the first offensive lineman to do it since David Diehl in 2003; and c) the first Giants' first round draft choice to do so since Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor in 1981.
Pugh is just the fourth Giants first-round draft choice to start every game in his rookie season since the 1970 merger. The others were linebacker Jim Files (1970), guard John Hicks (1974) and Taylor.
"My whole goal was just to contribute and help the team win in any way possible, if it was on special teams or as a starting right tackle," he said. "I wanted to play my part and show these guys that I came here to play and play well."
Pugh certainly did that, making anyone here who disliked the pick, as well as media experts everywhere who questioned it, eat crow. During a year in which the Giants' offensive line was a disaster Pugh emerged as the one dependable building block -- exactly what the Giants hoped for when they selected him.