New York Giants: Will Julian Love Start At Free Safety?

The New York Giants are revamping their secondary. After spending three draft picks on the unit last year (four if you count Sam Beal), New York doubled down and signed free agent cornerback James Bradberry to a three-year deal worth $45 million.

The Giants’ new secondary features Bradberry and DeAndre Baker as the outside cornerbacks with the slot position to be determined. Jabrill Peppers will remain the starting strong safety. But who will man the free safety position? By the looks of it, Julian Love will be the Giants’ starting free safety in 2020.

Julian Love Stats And Highlights

Julian Love showed promise filling in as a starter for the injured Jabrill Peppers in the final five games of the 2019 season. The rookie recorded 37 combined tackles, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, and only 4 missed tackles. The former collegiate slot cornerback converted to safety as a rookie and allowed only 190 yards and 1 touchdown in coverage.

With Peppers set to return to the starting lineup in 2020, Love will likely shift over to the free safety position. Julian has demonstrated the ability to make plays in both run and pass defense. This makes him an ideal fit for the free safety position. However, the job is not yet his.

If Not Love, Then Who?

The Giants are running out of cap space now after signing free agents such as Blake Martinez and James Bradberry. Prior to the New League Year, the Giants reportedly did have an interest in signing a free safety: Anthony Harris from the Minnesota Vikings.

Unfortunately, the Vikings placed the franchise tag on Harris, keeping him off the open market. But the elite Vikings safety is still available if the Giants are still interested. According to Ian Rapoport, the Vikings “acknowledged to teams that Harris could be had for a mid-to-late round draft pick.”

The highest-graded safety in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus could be acquired via trade for a mid-to-late round pick. This is something the Giants should be all over. If New York were able to acquire Harris via trade, they would start him at free safety and allow Julian Love to move back into the position of slot cornerback, which was his primary position in college. In his scenario, the Giants’ secondary would be complete and feature one of the best safeties in the league on the back end, along with plenty more youthful talent.