With Quality Options Available, the Giants Made a Puzzling Decision in Round 1

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistApril 25, 2013

Feb 21, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Syracuse offensive lineman Justin Pugh speaks at a press conference during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

I do not like the New York Giants' decision to draft Syracuse offensive lineman Justin Pugh 19th overall in the 2013 NFL draft. 

It's not because the pick is boring, because this team hasn't built itself up on headlines. And it's not because I don't believe they could use the help along the offensive line. 

In this case, New York picks up an extremely versatile player who might even have a chance to start from the get-go on the right side of the line. Pugh has been projected as a center, guard and tackle at the next level, depending on who you ask.

That's the bright side. 

The problem is that the defense is in dire need of help, and the Giants know how crucial the pass rush is to success in this league. But New York still left defensive ends Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine as well as cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes, Desmond Trufant and Jamar Taylor on the board. 

Werner and Carradine were extremely productive and reliable with the Seminoles, and both would have a chance to compete for reps right away, even with the Giants.

While Pugh's stock was rising prior to the draft, he's still a short-armed tackle who might not have the physical features to play on the outside as a pro.

He couldn't possibly have been ranked that much higher than those two ends or those three corners on Jerry Reese's draft board, and he certainly doesn't address needs any better than any of them would. Throw in the fact that Pugh was hampered by a shoulder injury last year and this officially becomes dumbfounding. 

The Giants haven't drafted a bust in the first round since they took Aaron Ross 20th overall in 2007, so we'll wait this out. My initial feeling, though, isn't optimistic.