Giants rookie Justin Pugh was the first offensive tackle the team has selected in the first round in fourteen years, when they drafted Luke Petitgout in 1999 out of Notre Dame. Though Putitgout came in and started right away for that Giants team, Pugh is looking at the right tackle competition he is engaged in with David Diehl in a different light.
“I’m just going to go out there and work and learn from him. He’s been here eleven years and he knows how to play the game. I’m just going to learn from him and go out there and compete and know my role, it’s all I can do,” Pugh said when asked about the competition.
As far as the role he spoke of, through the first two days of training camp it has been with the second team, lining up exclusively as the right tackle. However, offensive line coach Pat Flaherty may have more plans for the rookie.
Flaherty follows the Giants preference of having their interior players be as versatile as possible, saying, “As we do with a few of our other offensive lineman, we put them at other positions, but right now we’ll keep (Pugh) at the right tackle position.” He then hinted at other duties for Pugh when he mentioned, “Maybe someday here in the near future we can move him over to the left tackle position.”
That left tackle position is currently occupied by another high pick, William Beatty.
When Beatty, a second round pick out of UConn in 2009, entered his first training camp he was immediately pitted against a then-dominating Osi Umenyiora. From then on, Umenyiora was used as a measuring stick to see how Beatty was progressing and to see how ready he was for every day duties as an NFL left tackle.
Pugh was asked if he believes that he has anyone like that in training camp and was adamant in saying, “I try not to (think like that). Coach Flaherty is real big on facing an opponent and just executing what you have to do and knowing what your job is.”
Though he did mention that facing off against Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka would be “heightened” for him, Justin Pugh is worried about doing his job no matter who is lined up across from him.