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.
For the record Prince quietly had quite a strong season, and if he continues to grow will be a v solid player. Cf PFF's breakdown of CB's last year.
@iamwallaceagreed. The difference is "solid player" implies a "3" solid starter, which is what we graded him as. Many others had him as a top 5 or top 10 pick in the entire draft, ergo that Reese had found "gold." He did not, and that is all that reference was to. R1 should be about finding guys that can routinely make impact plays to change a game. At this point I too am happy with his progression to a solid player, but the day he was drafted we caught flak for being sober about his potential, that is all.
1241PM April 28, 2012 Twitter:"GO FOR THE HEADCASE, ILB VONTAZE BURFICT"
1242PM April 28, 2012 Twitter:"Take a chance, roll the dice on ILB Burfict"
Mayock is the best in the business and he loved Pugh. I remember when this blog was pounding the table for Rolando McLain and panning the JPP pick. I'm not saying Ogletree won't be the better player. But I think you've got rose colored glasses when it comes to LBers.
@TC4EVAIf we've got rose-colored glasses for LBer, then perhaps yours for this blog are... fecal colored? We know that there are plenty of LBers that are out there. We liked more than a few others, including a lesser known player last year named Vontaze Burfict, whom we asked for in R5 when he fell for character issues, and whom we screamed for again in R6 and R7. The Bengals got him as a UFA. As a rookie, he started 2012 in Week 3 and "only" got 174 tackles. Ya think that might have made a difference for this team, that has to use MLBers off the couch, and miss the playoffs at 9-7? (We as Giants fans should all say a prayer of thanks to Bernard Pollard, who injured Gronkowski in the AFC Championship, because Blackburn on 2 legs could barely keep up with Gronk on 1.) With the Colin Kaepernicks, Russell Wilsons and RGIII's that we have to face twice per year, LBer still matters in this league, especially for ones that can play all 3 downs.
@ultimatenyg Agreed. They're an absolute matchup nightmare. I'm curious to see how TE Adrien Robinson has progressed. I know the Giants are high on him and he's flashed that athleticism and speed. Where I do agree with you on the LB issue is as it relates to read-option QBs. It'd be nice to see the Giants get someone at LB who not only has the speed but the instincts to contain a guy like RGIII. The problem is, those guys are so, so rare. Willis is a once-in-a-lifetime LB. You have a better shot landing a franchise QB in Rd 1 than you do a guy like Willis who has the ability to cover the Gronks and also contain the RGIIIs. So if that's the case, you're probably better off investing in guys in the first two rounds who can get to the QB before he has a chance to do anything with the ball. But Taylor is interesting. Let's see if they can bring him in and coach him up. I keep hearing the word "enforcer" in describing him, lots of comparisons to Kam Chancellor . That'd be just fine with me -- I love physical DBs. Look at what they've done in Seattle with that back end of their D. I'd love it if we got a player that fits that mold.
I hope you are right about Cooper Taylor. You need these rookies to come in and contribute meaningfully, so let's see what he can do. Re Gronk and guys like Jimmy Graham, I certainly get that. This is why I really believe in the TE in this league. They are a matchup problem, too big for the Safety and too fast for the LBer.
@CommanderShepard @ultimatenyg Here's what Mayock recently had to say about Taylor: "The Cooper Taylor kid, the safety has had a tough road to go, the transfer from Georgia Tech. Medically there were some issues. He's a little bit of a tweener. He's so tall; he's a little stiff, so teams look at him and say is he a safety? Do we make him a will linebacker? I like the way he moves around. In today's NFL, I would think he's the kind of guy that could match up with a big tight end."
@CommanderShepard @TC4EVA @ultimatenyg Really like the Giants latest pick, Richmond safety Cooper Taylor. He's big, physical, and fast -- over 6'4", 230 lbs, and ran a 4.49 at his pro day. Really impressed at the East West shrine game. They're saying he might be able to bulk up a bit and play linebacker. And he'll come in right away and contribute on special teams. To me, I like this kind of gamble over spending a high pick on a LB. There are possibilities with this kid. Andy, you mention that we should all say a prayer to Pollard for knocking out Gronkowski (although we beat the Pats in New England that season with a healthy Gronk), but would you mind telling me how many LBers in the NFL can actually cover the Gronks and the Jimmy Graham's of the league? I'd say the answer is maybe one. Patrick Willis. Other than that, you can't stick a linebacker on those guys. Maybe Cooper comes in and plays in the big nickel, or they develop him as a linebacker. Going to keep an eye on this kid.
I think you're both right. Yes, this blog was pounding the table for Rolando McClain while very skeptical on JPP. But this is an inexact science and not everything pans out how you expect. This blog has also touted many underrated prospects that came up big, Burfict just the tip of the iceberg.
It's all about being right more often than not. This blog has been, as has the Giants front office. Nobody's perfect.
I'm Meh on the Pugh pick. Not sexy, but fills a need. It's a little concerning that he had round 3 grades from most that I saw, but we'll see how it plays out...