The New York Giants‘ secondary has been one of the league’s worst over the past two years. In 2017, the Giants’ secondary allowed 252.4 passing yards per game (ranked 31st in the NFL). In 2018, the Giants’ secondary allowed 252.8 passing yards (ranked 23rd in the NFL), showing minimal to no improvement.
The Giants fixed this problem in the 2019 NFL Draft. New York drafted three defensive backs in the 2019 NFL Draft (four if counting Sam Beal). The secondary has been completely rebuilt.
One of the cornerbacks that the Giants drafted was an absolute steal in the 4th-round. The Giants were extremely lucky to select Julian Love that late in the draft. There is no doubt that he will quickly make an impact with the Giants. The question is, however, where will Love’s impact be made?
Julian Love is a true playmaker on defense. Julian Love finished last season with the third-most PBUs among returning FBS cornerback with 12 total (Pro Football Focus). In his complete collegiate career, Love recorded five interceptions and set the Notre Dame record for pass breakups with 39.
PFF also points out that Love’s 21 forced incompletions were the sixth most in college football last season and his 14 coverage stops ranked 10th in the draft class.
NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein noted that Julian Love might be a better fit to play at slot cornerback instead of outside. Zierlein stated that Love is “more finesse than physical and his lack of top speed might need to be schemed around with certain matchups.”
Julian Love is a corner with average speed. He ran only a 4.54s 40-yard dash. Love is an incredibly talented cover corner, but his lack of speed could make him a liability in coverage against speedy receivers. The Giants would be wise to keep Julian in the slot where he can’t get burned over top as easily.
Julian Love’s previously mentioned average speed could open a doorway for him to be moved to safety. Dave Gettleman even mentioned that this is a possibility. His tackling ability also gives Love a potential edge in a safety competition.
According to Pro Football Focus, Julian Love missed only four tackles on 77 attempts in coverage. He also totaled 176 tackles, including 6.0 tackles for loss.
Love is an excellent tackling defensive back and could be a perfect pairing with Jabrill Peppers. Antoine Bethea is the Giants’ safety currently, however, he is 34 years old.
Bethea is an aging veteran and is only a short-term solution for the Giants’ safety problems. Fortunately, Antoine can provide his veteran leadership and wisdom to Julian Love to teach him how to be a successful safety in the NFL. If New York decides to move Julian Love to safety, he will be able to learn from Antoine Bethea, causing him to be an instant impact player on the back end of James Bettcher’s defense.