The NY Giants selected Guard/Tackle Justin Pugh out of Syracuse. He is an okay selection, at least filling a need on the Offensive Line. Jerry Reese called Pugh the best guy on their board (when they selected), but our draft analyst believes there were better picks. "Pugh has 32" arms," said Wonder. "I am not taking an OLineman with 32" arms at #19 in the NFL Draft. He's a Right Tackle with short arms. He is not DJ Fluker, who is a road grader. Pugh does not flash on film. He is a technician. I had him at 26 going to the Packers because the Packers were desperate for OL, not because he belonged at 26."
Wonder goes on to explain the evaluation of Pugh. "Pugh will be an okay NFL player. He's a 3 (solid starter) or 4 (replaceable starter). At the college level you can get away with good technique w/o all of the necessary physical skills. In the pros, I am worried about speed rushers beating him with swim moves, arm bars, and cutting inside of him because of the short arms. In college you don't see the NFL DEs like Aldon Smith who are fast on the edge. Pugh is not a Guard, he is a Right Tackle, and his arms will be a liability. He cannot move to Left Tackle. Pugh is an okay pick, nothing to write home about, not a lot of upside."
Mike Mayock rebutts the issue about Justin Pugh's arms. "It's a combination of great feet and a technician. He takes great angles. He never missteps, and when he locks on he's got heavy hands. Almost everything he does he's under control. Natural bender on the left side… I love watching this guy's tape."
Who was the pick for the Giants at that spot, given who was available? Wonder responds: "For my draft, I do not understand why you would not take Alec Ogletree. There is a player with upside. If the Giants and the rest of the NFL are worried about the character issues of the DUI, I understand that, but you take a chance with a guy who makes plays. Ogletree will make plays. Other players there who would have been fine would be Shariff or Rhodes."
Before this draft, we were optimistic about the Giants drafting a LBer or OL. The Giants drafted the latter, and for that we are happy. The quick takeaway is that Pugh is not a potentially dominating prospect, but he is on the Giants now and we will root for him to do as well as he can. For Wonder's part in evaluating other Giants Round 1 selections in the past, he saw JPP as feast or famine and ranked at 33 because of his lack of college experience. He did not like Amukamara and was very much validated by all of the other GMs who passed on him when he "fell" (did he?!) to the Giants. He liked Nicks, but liked Britt a little more. He was lukewarm on Phillips, in much the same way that he is lukewarm on Pugh.
Not that this is the arbiter of success, but Pugh had the second lowest grade (73) of anyone taken in Round 1 as measured by NFL.com. (QB EJ Manuel was lower.) Pugh is suiting up in Giants blue. For our part, we hope that Mayock's points are going to be what matters. The Giants have an excellent OL Coach in Pat Flaherty, so we would expect Pugh to develop well and be a solid contributer on Offense.