Former Syracuse offensive lineman Justin Pugh was selected with the 19th overall pick in the NFL Draft by the New York Giants. Pugh is the first Syracuse offensive player since Donovan McNabb in 1999 to be drafted in the first round of the NFL draft.
“I got the phone call and there was about four minutes left on the clock,” Pugh said in his introductory conference call. “I saw that 201 number and knew who it was. I turned the TV down, I got a big smile on my face and it was crazy. Coach Coughlin was like ‘Welcome to the Giants.’ It was amazing.”
Pugh will have a chance to start right away as the Giants an opening at right tackle. Pugh will likely compete with David Diehl and James Brewer.
“I can play all five positions on the offensive line,” Pugh said. “I really just want to come in and show what I’ve got. I know coach has said that he likes my versatility and my football smarts so I’m definitely ready to get in there in minicamp next week and start competing.”
Pugh was a 2011 and 2012 All-Big East First team selection, despite missing the first four games of the 2012 season with an injury. He started every game in his three-year career, and blocked for three separate 1,000-yard rushers. The Orange also averaged 187.0 yards per game, and allowed just 16 sacks.
Pugh was also on the 2012 Rotary Lombardi Award Official Watch List and the 2012 Outland Trophy Watch List, recognizing the best interior lineman in college football.
Pugh and Syracuse finished with an 8-5 (5-2 Big East) record overall, as SU won 38-14 over West Virginia in the 2012 New Era Pinstripe Bowl.
The Giants finished 9-7 last season, but missed the playoffs. They finished 12th in the NFL with 239.1 passing yards a game, and 14th in rushing yards at 116.4 yards per game.