The New York Giants utilized the 2019 season as a developmental year for their young players, including a slew of rookies on both sides of the ball. Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones was at the forefront of their efforts, but the defense saw five defenders receive ample playing time. If not for Ryan Connelly’s torn ACL, it would have been six rookies on the field seeing significant snaps.
One player for the New York Giants showed promise:
However, one of the youngsters for the Giants that made an impact was cornerback Julian Love, a player who was expected to slide into the slot or act as a free safety coming out of Notre Dame. To our surprise, he bounced around the defense in a utility role, earning reps at corner, slot, free safety, and strong safety.
After recording 37 combined tackles, three passes defended, one interception and forced fumble, Love proved he can be an asset on the Giants moving forward.
Pro Football Focus expects Love to make a significant ‘jump’ in 2020.
S JULIAN LOVE, NEW YORK GIANTS
At Notre Dame, Love played the vast majority of his snaps at wide cornerback, and he played well there, too, earning a 92.6 coverage grade across the 2017 and 2018 seasons. His transition to the NFL came with a position change, though, as the Giants asked Love to play safety as a rookie. This season, he split his time between playing in the box (176 snaps), slot corner (129 snaps) and even a little bit of free safety (77 snaps). As the table of his snaps by alignment below shows, that was new territory for the rookie.
Love didn’t see significant playing time until Week 12, but he made a good first impression to close out his rookie season by earning an overall grade of 70.5. The versatility to play safety, slot corner and wide corner — like he showed he was able to in college — serves the Giants well as they head into 2020. At the very least, Love showed that he deserves more playing time next season.
While I don’t anticipate Love making a massive jump to Pro-Bowl level status, he can fill in for injuries or even start in the slot if need be. The Giants will have around $85 million in cap space, and you better believe they will allocate some of it toward bolstering the secondary.
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