Many felt one of the biggest needs that had to be addressed for the New York Giants in 2013 was the state of their offensive line, something general manager Jerry Reese did address in the 2013 NFL Draft when he selected Justin Pugh out of Syracuse.
A lot of people called the move a surprising one, but an overall solid selection to inject an aging offensive line with some new blood into the mix. Pugh has yet to sign his rookie contract yet with the Giants, but that hasn't stopped him from getting in his work and preparation for training camp.
Pugh is one of two Giants rookies that are not under contract yet; fourth-round draft pick and quarterback Ryan Nassib also does not have a contract yet with the team, but just like Pugh, he came to OTA's and rookie camp ready to work.
Just as the Giants mini-camp ended last month, Giants.com caught up with long-time offensive line coach Pat Flaherty to talk about the progress of the first-rounder and how he's handled the transition of going from Syracuse into the NFL.
“He’s working extremely hard,” Flaherty said of Pugh. “He comes to work every day. He’s still finding some things out about the NFL, which he will continue to do for a long time. But he’s conscientious, he gives good effort. He’s a guy that wants to learn football, wants to learn the techniques of the NFL as much as anyone.”
Pugh has a chance in 2013 to compete for a starting position on the offensive line at right tackle, but he will have some competition at training camp and in the preseason in the form of veteran David Diehl and the unproven James Brewer.
The Giants are currently 20 days away from having to report to training camp at the Timex Performance Center in East Rutherford, yet Pugh still remains unsigned. However, as John Fennelly of SNYGiants.com pointed out, his signing should be coming relatively soon.
Fennelly also mentioned how the San Francisco 49ers just signed their first-round pick, safety Eric Reid to a four-year deal worth $8.398 million. That kind of deal is something many expect Pugh to sign for with the Giants. The draft pick after Pugh, Chris Long, signed a four-year, $8.3 million deal with the Chicago Bears earlier in the off-season.
So with less than three weeks to go until players have to report to New Jersey, Reid's latest signing may give Pugh the push needed to get his deal done so there will be no hold-ups during the summer. Pugh did sign an injury-protection form earlier in the off-season, which would allow him to participate in football activities with the Giants despite not having a signed contract. Back on June 15, Pugh did state that with or without a contract, he would still show up and participate in training camp for the Giants.
“I’m not really worried about it,” Pugh said. “I just want to focus on football. That’s why I signed [the injury protection form to participate in the offseason program], so I can be out here. I know it’ll be done. I’m not missing any training camp, I know that right now. They do things the right way here, so I know we’ll get it done. I’m not worried about it.”
But even without his deal, Pugh has shown the Giants organization, coaches and fans that even without his deal being signed, he is fully committed to playing for the team and making a tremendous impact in his rookie season.
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