Julian Love is entering his second season with the New York Giants after showing flashes of potential during his 2019 rookie campaign.
After the New York Giants chose Julian Love in the fourth round of the 2019 draft, the former Notre Dame standout was sort of a mystery at first. Through the initial 10 weeks, Love notched just three total defensive snaps, working as a reserve safety in spite of the fact that he was more of a cornerback in college.
Love received his shot when Jabrill Peppers went down with a transverse process fracture in Week 12 though. The then-rookie started the final five games of the year at strong safety and finished with 37 combined tackles, one interception, and one forced fumble. He certainly portrayed promise, but Love wants to assist this ballclub even more in 2020.
“I want to just be a factor,” Love told Madelyn Burke of giants.com’s “Giants Huddle” podcast. “I want to contribute in a positive way and do whatever I have to do to do that. Last year — I don’t want to talk about last year too much — but I tried to be there in any way I could [by] knowing the playbook, knowing different things I could do to see the field and just try to help. And it’s not for, ‘Oh, I want to play, I want to play.’ No, I want to help. I want to build on this. So my personal goal is just to be ready for that.”
Some believed Love would actually be the starting free safety in 2020 due to the Giants parting ways with Antoine Bethea this offseason. The second-round selection of Xavier McKinney in April’s draft essentially ended those hopes though. Love may now compete to be the team’s starting slot corner and further expand his versatility and range in the defensive backfield.
While training camp is still over a month away, fans have an idea of what this secondary may look like come Week 1. In the event DeAndre Baker is playing, you’ll likely see a cornerback tandem of him and the newly acquired James Bradberry. The safety tandem will likely consist of McKinney and Peppers with the slot corner position including either Love, Corey Ballentine, Grant Haley, Sam Beal, or a few other potential options.
Regardless of who plays where, this defensive backfield will need to greatly improve from last year. In 2019, the Giants finished 28th in the league with 264.1 passing yards allowed per game.