Since the literal moment he was selected in the first-round of the 2013 NFL Draft, there has been speculation about Justin Pugh's place on the New York Giants' offensive line. And although the team has long-maintained that he'll remain at right tackle, the questions and speculation refuse to go away.
However, Giants offensive line coach, Pat Flaherty, attempted to put an end to all of that chatter earlier this week, shutting down the notion that Pugh could be or would be on the move.
"Someone asked me 'would you experiment?' Why experiment with the guy? He's a starting right tackle. Do I need to move him over to left guard? He's a starting right tackle. I tell the offensive linemen that you're a starter, you have a position and you've earned. If we're going to move you, it's going to have to help the football team," Flaherty told The Star-Ledger.
Although Flaherty insists Pugh is nowhere near his ceiling as a player and has a lot of room for improvement, he feels it would be counterproductive to move Pugh after a rookie year in which he allowed fewer sacks than any other first-round tackle (who started 16 games) — a feat that not only earned him the highest grade for a rookie first-round tackle by Pro Football Focus, but also a spot on the Pro Football Writers of America's All-Rookie Team.
"Justin got better each and every game last year. He needs to get a lot better," he said. "But I don't see it. I don't see it in the near future but I guess you never say never, right? If you're asking me today, I don't foresee us moving him. You don't make change unless you have to do it. My vision right now is him being the right tackle."
Even with question marks surrounding Will Beatty (leg), John Jerry (knee) and Chris Snee (elbow), Pugh has clearly earned the right to remain right where he is. If the Giants are looking to shuffle their line and find versatility, it will have to come via someone else.
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