Found June 06, 2013 on NFL Draft Zone:
PLAYERS: Justin Pugh
TEAMS: New York Giants

New York Giants first round draft pick Justin Pugh sat down with NFL Draft Zone, and it was a pleasure to do so. Pugh was a 3-Time Big East selection and a highly touted NFL prospect seemingly since he stepped on the Carrier Dome turf. He helped the Orange collect 2 improbable bowl game wins during his career, and protected the blind-side of fellow NFL and college teammate QB Ryan Nassib. It was great to hear the excitement in Justin’s voice, it is very clear that he is a guy living out his dream in the Big Apple. Our writer Shaun DePasquale sat down with Justin, here is his interview with NFL Draft Zone:  Shaun DePasquale: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me and NFL Draft Zone. Where did you train for the NFL Draft? Justin Pugh: No problem. I trained in Atlanta, GA at CES (Competitive Edge Sports) with Chip Smith. I focused on explosiveness almost everyday, getting ready for this opportunity. SD: What went into the decision to forego your senior year at Syracuse and enter the NFL Draft? JP: I wanted to step myself up to the next level. My body of work speaks for itself. I am one of the best offensive tackles in the country, and I know I’m ready for this. I was a 3 time All-Big East selection and I left everything I had on the field. This has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid. I knew I was ready for this challenge. SC: When did you know you would be leaving for the NFL? JP: I kind of had an idea from the beginning of the season. I took some extra courses to get me closer to my degree in anticipation of leaving a year early. Some of my best friends on the team were graduating seniors and I really wanted to go out the same time as they did. It would be tough to see all those guys move on and play another year. I love all of my teammates. SD: What do you feel are your strengths/weaknesses? JP: I think I have great athleticism. Great feet; great hips. I can pass protect, and I can run block. I can do whatever you ask of me,and do it as well or better than anyone. Weaknesses? I guess my size. I hate that word, but I guess if I had to pick something, well I’m not 6’8/345. I’m 6’5 and looking to get around 310. I will be 310 lb. by Combine. I see my weight listed at 290 lb. sometimes but that isn’t accurate. I am 302 lb. right now. SD: Did you feel you were worth a team’s 1st round draft pick? JP: Definitely I am one of the top tackles in this draft. I am going to add value to your team. I don’t care what you ask of me, I will do it. I will play tackle; play guard; play scout team. I am going to be active in the community and bring my lunch pail to work with me everyday. SD: Is there a certain team or offensive system that you see yourself into? JP: The Zone Blocking Scheme, a scheme with a lot of combination blocks. I’m athletic, I can get to the second level and take out linebackers. But I do love to protect the QB, and I know how important pass protection is. I am one of the best pass-protecting tackles in this class, and the film will show that. SD: How did it feel to go out and dominate West Virginia in the 2012 Pinstripe Bowl to cap your college career? JP: It meant a lot. You remember your first and your last games so much, and you want them to be fond memories. This was a phenomenal group of seniors, and I wanted badly to see them come out with a win in their last game. West Virginia didn’t seem to have much respect for us, but we took it. We knew we were the better team, and we proved it. SD: Tell me something about yourself that may surprise readers. JP: Well, I grew up a hockey fan more so than football. I wanted to be Wayne Gretzky. And I have 8 very close friends from high school, and we all bear a matching tattoo and do everything in our power to stay close, even though I’m away from home a lot. It’s all about family and friends. One last thing my sister created the “Pugh Crew” which is basically my Fan Club. It consists of mostly fans and friends who travel to my games, but I am definitely looking to expand the “Pugh Crew” to whatever team drafts me. SD: If you could have dinner with any 3 people ..who would they be? JP: I’ve gotta cheat a little on this one and expand a bit. I will make them separate meals. First, would be my father and grandfather, whom have passed. I’ve gotta have both men there. Next would be my 8 close friends from high school. That would be an awesome dinner. Last meal would be my mom. I am all about friends and family. The people that truly care about you and helped me become who I am. SD: Give me one player on Syracuse no one is talking that is destined for a fine NFL career. JP: OG Zach Chibane. He’s a 3 year starter, played great for us and he doesn’t get nearly the recognition he deserves. I believe that whether a team drafts him or signs him, Zach is the type of tireless worker that he will stick on that team. SD: What are your thoughts on HC Doug Marrone moving on to the NFL and the Buffalo Bills? JP: The NFL is a business. If we had finished with 2 wins, people would be calling for his job. Instead we go on a nice run, finish 8-5 and people see what he can really do as a coach. It’s every coach’s dream to be an NFL coach. It’s really once-in-a-lifetime and Coach Marrone is living it. I don’t blame him for taking it. And I know he will do well. SD: Thanks for the interview again Justin and good luck in your NFL career JP: Thanks Shaun


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