Justin Pugh spent his first NFL workout at a place he’s not used to being: the right side of the offensive line. After three years as the left tackle at Syracuse, Pugh will be competing against David Diehl at right tackle and began that process today by playing that position.
Pugh said it was awkward to change sides “when I first did it right at the end of the season last year, but I have been working on my right tackle stance ever since then so it feels a lot better now. I just keep getting more and more reps, keep getting live reps against guys and as it gets better it will get easier.”
Pugh dabbled at right tackle in Syracuse practices, and then at the Senior Bowl he was all over the line.
“Played a little right guard, right tackle, so I got more and more comfortable with it,” he said. “But in no game I’ve never played right tackle. I played right guard in high school. But I am comfortable with the right side.”
As for the Giants’ playbook, Pugh said there are similarities from Syracuse that are helping him adjust.
“It actually hasn’t been too bad because we ran a lot of the same plays,” he said. “It’s just different terminology for it. Sometimes I’ll just flip the play in my mind. The runs weren’t too bad. The pass protection was a little bit different. So that’s just something you just keep working on and get in there with the guys and we’ll go over it.”
Pugh at least has the familiarity of protecting a quarterback he knows. Former Syracuse teammate Ryan Nassib is also a Giants draft pick and the first-team quarterback in this minicamp. Of course, Nassib is used to seeing Pugh’s other profile when he comes up to the line of scrimmage.
“I was like ‘Hey Ryan, now I got your front side as opposed to your back side,’” Pugh said. “He said it’s all good. As long as I am protecting him, he is good with it.”