The New York Giants drafted quality cornerback Julian Love out of Norte Dame in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. As the draft continued on, Love stood out like a sore thumb on the Giants’ draft board, according to general manager Dave Gettleman.
Moving forward into camp, Love is expected to compete with slot corner Grant Haley, a former undrafted free agent that played in 10 games last season. Haley’s instincts and ability to match up with speedy slot receivers provided value to a secondary that lacked starting talent across the board.
With Janoris Jenkins being the sole veteran of the group, it was essential that the Giants drafted several premium players to fill starting roles. Love has the ability to be an immediate impact player in the interior, and the position battle between the two young defenders should be exciting.
Where will the New York Giants use Julian Love?
However, if Haley seems like the better fit in the interior, it’s possible defensive coordinator James Bettcher tries Love out at free safety. His top-level speed and pass defense make him a viable candidate in the post-Antoine Bethea-era. He’s a bit undersized for the corner position, which is why first-round pick Deandre Baker will likely earn the No. 2 corner spot.
This idea is secondary to his positional strength, as he was strictly an outside corner for the Fighting Irish. Making the transition to safety isn’t an easy one – we saw those struggles with Curtis Riley in 2018. Taking bad angles or missing tackles was a frequent occurrence last season. That’s a possibility for Love if he doesn’t make a smooth transition.
The likely result for Love in the secondary:
Despite that hypothetical scenario, I believe Julian will feature on the interior alongside Haley, potentially even beating him out for the starting job.
He can also move to the outside in case of injury. His diversified skill-set and multi-faceted approach to the game makes him a de-facto utility player in the secondary. He could emerge as one of the steals of the draft of the fourth round.