Prospect: Justin Pugh, OG/OT, SyracuseJustin Pugh

Height: 6’4½”

Weight: 307 lb.

Athleticism:

  • Impressive lateral quickness with very frequent feet
  • Explosive first step, quick out of his stance and into contact
  • Shows sudden movement ability working from target to target, carries his weight extremely well
  • Plays with a low center of gravity and good balance through contact
  • Build resembles a guard more than a tackle, relatively short arms with a thick upper half
  • Generates strength from his lower body poorly, frame a bit soft, has room to add bulk though

Intelligence/Effort:

  • Eyes are well-trained to the movements of defenses pre-snap and mid-play
  • Very gap-aware player with a clear understanding of scheme and play calls
  • Communicates well with teammates and has strong leadership qualities
  • Experienced player with 34 career starts, all of which came at left tackle
  • Adequate effort level, often making blocks well downfield

Pass Blocking:

  • Reliable anchor with ability to reset his feet after initial contact very quickly
  • Can get knocked back against rushers who convert speed to power well, lack of hand strength makes it appear like he’s catching cannonballs
  • Struggles to keep the hands of pass rushers off his frame occasionally due to lack of length, can get pushed onto his heels as a result
  • Will lock up rushers when he gets his hands placed, firm grip without holding
  • Methodical in his kickslide, vulnerable around the corner to speed rushers
  • Feet slow while engaged, mirroring skills lessen after rusher engages him first before giving a quick move
  • Handles stunts and blitz packages with disciplined eyes and anticipation

Run Blocking:

  • Not a brute run blocker, but maintains technique and consistently gets defenders turned to open up holes
  • Precise hand placement to the frame of defenders with ability to get his hips into the hole
  • Skilled combo blocker who keeps his eyes up, has immense timing, and takes great angles to the second level
  • Efficient puller who keeps his pads down and locates defenders quickly, effective leading up holes, kicking out, wham blocks
  • Comfortable working laterally and can fight to the correct shoulder of defenders in zone scheme

Technique:

  • Flexible hips with proper knee bend, consistently keeps his pad level down
  • Proper hand placement on a consistent basis, gets into the chestplate of defenders
  • Doesn’t have incredibly strong hands and his initial punch leaves something to be desired
  • Developed footwork, sets up his blocks well consistently and never stops his feet

Overall:

After becoming the first redshirt junior to attend the Senior Bowl, Justin Pugh became the talking point of weigh-ins, but not in a good way.  His arms measured out at just under 32 inches, a worry for any offensive tackle prospect.  It shouldn’t have been a huge surprise perhaps, considering what he showed on the field.  His lack of length and other deficiencies as a tackle will likely see him moved inside to guard.  That’s not necessarily an indictment of him as a prospect though.  Pugh is an extremely efficient blocker and can open up large holes in the running game.  He has great feet and a solid anchor, two important traits in pro-level offensive lineman.  Pugh missed fall camp and the first four games of his final season at Syracuse with an upper body injury, but it’s the only mark on his injury history.  At offensive guard, he would be a great fit in a zone blocking scheme.  He’s not necessarily limited to the zone scheme.  It remains to be seen how he would hold up having to play head up with a defensive tackle for four quarters, but it doesn’t mean he couldn’t do it.  Pugh isn’t getting a ton of headlines in the lead up to the draft, but he’s a solid second tier offensive guard with strong measurables and terrific technique.  It wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination to see him go in the second round.

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