First Off the Board

In the conversation with quarterback Ryan Nassib and defensive back Shamarko Thomas as potential early selections, Pugh was the name read in Round 1. More inside.

The Syracuse Orange football program had 13 players enter their names into this year's NFL Draft.

Of the 13, offensive lineman Justin Pugh was the only player to leave a year of eligibility on the table.

His choice to leave early in hopes of becoming a professional football player were met with the reality of doing just that.

With the 19th overall pick in the 2013 draft, Pugh was selected by the New York Giants.

As a result, Pugh will join another Orange alum with Giants' head coach Tom Coughlin having been a former fullback for Syracuse.

Pugh is now part of an organization that has won two Super Bowls in the 21st century under the coach he will be taught by, Coughlin, and the quarterback he will now be asked to protect, Eli Manning.

By going to the Giants, Pugh has an immediate opportunity to be in the postseason and learn how to handle the road to the nation's highest stage being on a team who has figured out how to get there and win on more than one occasion.

Pugh enters the organization having had helped to bring about three different 1,000-yard rushers for Syracuse in each of the past three seasons.

He also blocked well in the passing game, allowing Nassib time to survey the field and attain numerous top spots in Orange quarterback history.

Off to a 1-3 start this past season, Pugh returned from shoulder surgery to aid the Orange to a 6-2 finish. This resulted in Syracuse winning a share of the Big East title in their final season in the conference and a berth in the postseason.

In two of the past three seasons, Pugh helped Syracuse to two trips to the postseason and assisted in them winning on both occasions, each the New Era Pinstripe Bowl played in Yankee Stadium.

The move also keeps Pugh close to his hometown of Holland, Pennsylvania.

Being a Giant, he will get to play against the team that he grew up watching, the Philadelphia Eagles, twice a season.

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