Julian Love
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

New York Giants rookie defensive back Julian Love already has to study the playbook even more than other rookies ahead of the preseason.

The New York Giants drafted Julian Love in the fourth round (No. 108 overall) out of Notre Dame this year. Love is entering the NFL as a cornerback, but the Giants will need him to be versatile with what position he plays. Along with playing nickel corner, he’ll also need to work out at the free safety position, potentially becoming Antoine Bethea‘s successor.

That being said, Love will need to study the playbook twice as much as others. It’s a lot to ask for someone who just turned 21 years of age this past March, but the former Fighting Irish is looking forward to the challenge.

“It does make it a little more difficult, but I kind of expected that coming in,” said Love, per Greg Joyce of the New York Post. “I think that’s one of my strongest qualities … that people can trust me in different spots. So I’m really just trying to be dependable for the team in that regard right now.”

Love played 38 games at cornerback during his time at Notre Dame. Despite them seeming like similar positions, there are actually a multitude of differences between nickel corner and free safety that Love will have to pick up on.

The differences are evidently motivating Love, as he believes his adaptability will become a major factor in learning both spots.

“At corner, you’re on an island — guard this guy, don’t let him catch the ball,” Love said. “At safety, you’re really tied into the linebackers and the nickel and the corner — be alert for run fits as well as protecting your defense. I think I have traits that fit better for a corner, fit better for a safety. So that helps because now I can play wherever.”

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.