When Syracuse offensive lineman Justin Pugh played Temple this season, he had 220 friends and family from Holland, Pa., representing the "Pugh Crew."
"They definitely want me to go to the Eagles," said Pugh, a promising offensive lineman who went to Council Rock South.
Pugh met with the Eagles on Wednesday night and was due to meet with them again on Thursday. He projects as a tackle or guard and is hoping to sneak into the first round.
"I grew up an Eagles fan," Pugh said. "But at the same time, there are 32 teams out there, so thereÆs a 1-in-32 chance I end up there."
Pugh can play guard or tackle. He has been criticized for relatively short arms, but he thinks too much is made out of them and that teams are confident he can play tackle. Pugh, who is nearly 6-foot-5 and 308 pounds, has 32-inch arms. He joked that they were measured at 31 1/2 at the Senior Bowl, so his arms grew half of an inch.
“Well it’s actually crazy," Pugh said. "I played three years never knowing I had short arms … It didn’t really hurt me then. I didn’t know I had short arms until I got to the Senior Bowl.”
Offensive lineman Kyle Long, the son of former NFL Hall of Famer Howie Long and brother of Pro Bowler Chris Long, spoke about overcoming a chemical dependency addiction and turning around his life after a January 2009 DUI arrest to become a promising NFL prospect.
"It was a tipping point for me," Long said. "I took a self-inventory and was able to start the process of recovery. I still have a lot to work on, but I'm happy where I am today."
After a stint at junior college, Long arrived at Oregon to play for Kelly. While with the Ducks, he showed his NFL future. Long is 6-foot-6 and 313 pounds. He's a former baseball prospect who is a late bloomer at football, so his best development might still be ahead.
Because of his connection to Kelly, Long has done much research about the Eagles. Considering the Eagles will be in the market for offensive linemen, Long might be a fit. If he's reunited with his former coach, Long will know what to expect.
"You just need to be able to run past the point of exhaustion," Long said. You need to be in good cardio shape. A big emphasis on that offense’s tempo. That became very evident the first day I showed up at fall camp, I thought I was going to die. You get used to the tempo. You notice when the guy across from you tongue’s dragging. You’re ready to go and man up.”
The top guard in the draft is Chance Warmack, but expect to hear similar praise for North Carolina's Jonathan Cooper. The 6-2, 312-pound guard is another first rounder despite playing a position that does not usually get attention early in the draft.
"I think I’m very blessed to be playing at guard and to be as highly regarded as I am, so I’m thankful for that," Cooper said. "But, no, it’s not a glamour position. They like guys who run power and run it consecutive times, just smash people until they can’t hardly think. So it is not a glamour position and it is hard to be scouted, but I’m grateful because I have been blessed with the opportunity."
Cooper also played center for a game at North Carolina, and he can flex there if needed. Because there was a coaching change and scheme change in college, he could also play in different systems.
"We had a few gap schemes and zone-blocking schemes," Cooper said. "Prior to my senior season we were a big power team, and even this year we had multiple power plays. I feel comfortable in a zone scheme, a power scheme, whatever they ask of me I feel I can do it and do it well."