Justin Pugh Scouting Report

March 22nd, 2013

Pugh was a very good left tackle at Syracuse but might need to move inside in the NFL

QB / RB / FB / WR / TE / OT / OG / OC / DT / DE / OLB / ILB / CB / SAF
Prospect:Justin Pugh, OT/OG, Syracuse
Height: 6’4½”
Weight: 307 lb.
Grade: 7.05 (Grading Scale)

Scouting Report:

+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

+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

+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

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.—Darren Page

Scouting Notes:

Syracuse vs. Louisville
• Quick to the second level and gets underneath the pads of an inside linebacker, drives him back on first contact
• Shows off an impressive anchor absorbing the power rush of a blitzing linebacker right to his chest, gets his feet reset quickly
• Gets to the outside shoulder of the defensive end and turns him inside to spring the running back into the open field
• Locking up pass rushers on the edge well by getting his hands to their chestplates and controlling
• Fights to the inside of the defensive end and gets across his face to pin him, opening a hole that springs a long touchdown run
• Drives back a defensive end with help from the inside on a combo block before redirecting to a linebacker and pinning him to the outside, springs another long touchdown run
• Pancakes a defensive end when he beings to lose balance after a strong initial punch from Pugh
• Rocks a defensive end with a jolt to his chest before controlling him when his hands and getting him turned to the inside, opens up a cutback lane for the ball carrier

Syracuse vs. Rutgers
• Gets too far over his heels trying to driving the defensive end off the ball and loses his balance when the defender sheds and steps around him
• Gets his hands into the chest of a defensive end and locks him up completely in pass protection, keeps feet moving to mirror, gets scrappy with the defender after the play
• Sets up too far to the inside and allows the defensive end to get to his outside shoulder before bending around the edge to force a pressured throw from Ryan Nassib
• Steps down and doubles a defensive tackle but doesn’t fan out to his backside gap when linebacker shoots the gap and makes the tackle
• Sees multiple blitz packages to his side and is decisive picking up inside threat in each occasion, knows he’s getting help from the running back
• Lets a defensive end get into his frame to easily and Pugh gets bullrushed onto his heels, gives up his inside gap
• Lack of foot quickness to mirror exposed against Khaseem Greene on the edge, anchors his initial rush but unable to redirecto when Greene works back to the inside, ends up causing a Nassib fumble
• Gets his hands to the shoulder of a pass rusher who tries to dip around the corner and drives him into the ground
• Communicates pre-snap with the tight end and left guard when a heavy blitz package is shown, all three picked up perfectly

Syracuse vs. Pittsburgh
• Misses on blocks of linebackers at the second level on multiple occasions, struggles to keep up with their lateral movements
• Wedges speed rushers of their corner arcs consistently, showing off better ability to get depth than in other games
• Shows an impressive anchor to absorb a power rush attempt despite not meeting first contact with his hands, took contact square to the chest and reset his feet quickly
• Unable to get across the face of the defensive end on multiple sweeps around his side
• Very impressive performance as a whole, gives up no sacks or hurries and consistently stones edge rushers in pass protection

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