Offensive lineman Justin Pugh officially agreed to a deal with the New York Giants that is believed to be four years and worth around $8 million dollars. Pugh was the Giants first round pick and is expected to take snaps with the first team.
Agreeing to terms with the Giants also meant the young offensive tackle could report to training camp on time.
When Big Blue's offensive line coach Pat Flaherty selected Pugh with the No. 19 pick in April's draft, he knew he had a good player. "He came across to me as a player that, first of all, football is important to him," Flaherty said about his rookie offensive lineman. "He wanted to not only do it for an occupation, but playing the game itself meant something to him. His demeanor as having some physicalness to him and the willingness to learn. God gave him some ability as most of the NFL players, where he can bend and move and do those types of things."
Now Pugh can get his reps and learn from David Diehl and company.
"It feels good," Pugh said about signing on time for camp." He went on to say "It was my goal to get in here as an offensive lineman. Getting in here and learning the playbook is huge. I also said I wouldn't be holding out, so I stayed true to that. It worked out well. I'm here and I'm happy."
Right now the front runner for right tackle is Diehl and offensive line coach Pat Flaherty believes a little competition will force both players to work hard.
"Right tackle is David Diehl," Flaherty said. "With Justin Pugh working in at right tackle and that's what we're starting out here in training camp. We'll continue to progress that way. It will work its way out whatever which way it's going to work. Both of them are getting the same amount of reps and we have a lot of confidence in David Diehl. Justin Pugh will get there as he continues to work."
Diehl has started both Super Bowl victories for the Giants and was a Pro Bowler in 2009. He is now set to battle for his starting job. Pugh is officially under Diehls' wing and is just trying to soak it all in. "I just get out there and work and learn from him," admitted Pugh. "Obviously he's been there eleven years and he knows the ropes and how to play the game. So I'm just going to get out there. I know my role, right now I'm running with the twos. Just learn as much as I can from him and go out there and compete. That's all I can do. I just challenge myself to get better each day."
The 6-foot-5, 307 pound lineman started 34 games at left tackle for the Orangemen and was named First Team All Big East two times during his four years playing college football.
"I feel good about it," Pugh said about the transition over to the right side. ""I'm feeling comfortable out there in my set and all the different things. I think it's just getting in there and learning the playbook, like I said, and then getting on the technique and mastering the technique."
Only preseason will indicate which offensive lineman will protect for quarterback Eli Manning. Will it be the two-time Super Bowl veteran or the determined first round draft pick? This is sure to be one of the more entertaining competitions of Giants training camp.