New York Giants secondary lacking according to PFF rankings

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

The New York Giants improved in the secondary this season, but they still have some ways to go. The main improvements, of course, were the additions of James Bradberry and Logan Ryan. And while Xavier McKinney spent much of the year injured, his return to the field sets up an intriguing next season with him playing besides Ryan and Jabrill Peppers.

Despite the improvements, the Giants still have a need at number two corner. That seems to have dragged them down when Pro Football Focus went over the league’s secondaries and put the Giants in the bottom half.


New York is this high because of one man only: James Bradberry. The fifth-year corner was signed to a monster contract this past offseason after four middling years with the Carolina Panthers. He didn’t play at a high level in his four years with Carolina, failing to surpass a 70.0 PFF grade in every season, so the contract was risky, to say the least.

But Bradberry proved all the doubters wrong and justified his pay this season. He ranked fifth among outside corners in coverage grade and fourth in forced incompletion rate (21%). There were quite a few missed tackles from him (14), but that’s something you can live with if he keeps up this shutdown play.

Some might disagree with where the Giants were placed as well as the dismissive assessment of non-Bradberrry members of the secondary because this take makes no mention of impact players Jabrill Peppers and Logan Ryan.

In fact, Ryan had his second best season in the tackling department in 2020 when he racked up 94. His three forced fumbles were also the second most he’s had in a season, and those who watched the Giants before his arrival can attest to his impact.

Jabrill Peppers also stepped up at safety this season and had a career high in both tackles and passes defended, registering a total of 11 in the latter category. That’s a big step up from his 5 the previous season. It gives him one of the highest totals overall this year at the strong safety position.

The Giants do indeed have a need for a number two cornerback, however, which may be addressed through the draft if the front office doesn’t target offense first, or a pass rusher. Alabama corner Patrick Surtain has been brought up as a name in the mix for the Giants to draft at the position, but with a number of other needs too, it’s not clear which way the Giants will go with the 11th pick.

New York Giants stars help inspire first DB Combine prep, but the man behind it all is Brian Walker

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers, Darnay Holmes, DBacks Academy

When the New York Giants began the 2020 season, their defense was supposed to be their weakest link. By season’s end, it was their strongest, thanks to fantastic play across the board and stellar coaching. Strong safety Jabrill Peppers is one player who saw his game take a jump to the next level, having his most productive season yet. He finished with a career-high 57 tackles and eight tackles for a loss. However, the catalyst behind Peppers’ fantastic year is his off-season work-ethic and his time spent with Brian Walker, the founder of DBacks Academy.

Walker also trains 4th round pick from 2020, Darnay Holmes, who saw incredible growth as the season progressed before suffering a knee injury. Earlier on in the season, Holmes faced off against first-round wide receiver Ceedee Lamb, holding him to just 43 yards. The mentality to succeed and work hard during your time off is what lead Holmes, as a fourth-rounder, to succeed. Walker played a key part in preparing the two young defensive backs for the Giants for the 2020 season, and it paid off in dividends.

Brian is leading the charge to a revolutionized way of training DBs and preparing them for the next level. 

“Helping the next generation get to the goal as quickly as possible. Whether it’s safety to linebacker, or safety to linebacker, or hybrid.”

“Every DB is not the same height, every DB is not the same speed. Just like we have SAT tutors, quarterback coaches, this is something for me, during my playing days, I wish there was a coach who could break it down and see the game different. The game is getting faster and faster.”

Brian has trained with players from the East to the West Coast, understanding the different styles and athletic abilities. This has helped form a specific teaching style that adapts to his athletes, no matter the age or background. His experience playing against some notable names has also contributed to his vast knowledge of the game.

“As a DB, one thing about California, everyone is fast, and because I had a wide receiver foundation and I had the Don Brown tree, I ended up leaving JUCO and going to Washington State. I was able to go against Deshaun Jackson and Reggie Bush, and a lot of these guys are staples.”

Q: You have to be anticipating change and keeping up with the times, so how do you foresee things changing for kids looking to prepare for the NFL in 2-3 years?

“I was blessed to play at the higher levels for a few years, but I did play Arena Football, and because it’s so small, it’s so quick. Now that the game of NFL, the guys are bigger, stronger faster, the guys are getting to the QB so much quicker. What I’m telling guys now, is that the game is built like Arena Football. The corners are bigger and the safeties are smaller and can cover. The slots are a lot quicker, the tight ends are more receiver(ish).”

“The biggest thing, eliminating the extra steps, making sure you’re not too high. Football is a game of angles. The proper angles get you in the right situation. The game is about technique because everyone is bigger, stronger faster.”

Walker is a fundamentalist, refining his players’ techniques and noticing the details to improve their game. He understands one major accelerant in development — fixing the minor issues leads to ‘major’ growth.

Being an athlete is only one step of the process, being a stellar student is half the battle.

Q: How important is being a good student as part of your teachings?

“I have a track background, we filmed everything to make every step is correct. With DBs, sometimes we can give the verbiage, but it might not resonate the right way. Using film, we can slow it down and break it down the right way. It’s just repetition, like a golf swing, the more you swing, the better you get.”

With technology becoming such an influential part of the way athletes train and build out their style, Walker is always ahead of the curve, using advancements to help his students.

Q: How do you use technology to your advantage? 

“I can actually teach more, I can pull up information in the blink of an eye. The little details, the micro and you can get it to the macro by using technology.”

Q: What Pro Athletes do you currently work with?

“Currently, we work with Darnay Holmes, Jabrill Peppers, Juwann Winfree, a handful of college guys, Jordan Fuller. Rashan Gary, some offensive linemen.”

“A lot of my guys are from the ground-up, 8th grade in the making. I’ve built relationships with these players, and I do tell people, I know the process of getting people from highschool to college, to pro. I know all three phases.”

What make the professionals different, what is their mentality?

“The mindset with all of them, they continue to want to learn. Growth mindset is really important for athletes.”

The purpose of DBs Academy isn’t to be a one-stop training session for professionals, it’s meant to develop relationships that grow over time, leading to exponential growth. Think of it as investing in the stock market — the longer you wait, the more money you will gain over time (given you’re invested in the right areas). With Brian, he views himself as the stock, and the more you trust and put effort back into him, the better you will be in the future.

Q: Defensive back-specific Combine:

“With the NFL Combine, there’s always a lot of DBs, and they get drafted, but unfortunately, they get drafted and then they’re out of camp within 2-3 months. That’s disheartening, because these are young men who spend most of their life trying to get drafted and they’re not there.”

“What’s the primary issue, what’s the root, the source?”

“I can be that eye, what makes the combine I do so special, never done before, extremely detailed on what we’re doing for the NFL, but also for a longer career. If I can make a free agent or 7th rounder first-day pick, that shows the development is there. How do you make them work as efficient and successful as they want to be? That’s what this Combine is meant to extract.”

The most innovative aspect of Walker’s system is the DB-specific Combine, giving young athletes a chance to showcase their abilities to scouts in a specific setting. The NFL Combine focuses so much on athleticism, it can often-time overlook the factor of potential. Brian respects and appreciates all of the hard work athletes put into their game, and with the high number of defensive backs trying to make it, any competitive advantage counts.

This DB Combine provides just that — a better way to get yourself in front of those that matter and refine your skills for what team-officials really need to see.

Follow DBacks Academy on Twitter!



One New York Giants defender who has blossomed under Patrick Graham’s scheme

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

When the New York Giants hired defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, most didn’t believe he would have the influence we’ve enjoyed during the 2020 season. His unit has willed the Giants to victory on numerous occasions, establishing a sense of toughness and grit the team hasn’t had in years.

While defensive lineman Leonard Williams and cornerback James Bradberry might get all of the hype, we can’t forget about safety Jabrill Peppers and the stellar job he has done, improving his game in nearly every category.

Peppers has been phenomenal the past few weeks but had his best game of the season and possibly his career against the Cincinnati Bengals in week 12. He allowed just one reception for 1 yard, dominating in coverage but also stopping the run at a high-level. He’s been one of the best tacklers on the team this season with 74 combined and eight tackles for a loss.

Making the transition to strong safety in 2019 had its ups and downs, especially after a tumultuous two-year sample size in Cleveland. He was a major piece in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade, a trade that the Giants seemingly won based on the production they’ve received from Dexter Lawrence and Jabrill.

The New York Giants have committed to Peppers:

Jabrill has already had his fifth-year option picked up by the Giants and will spend one more season in blue before hitting free agency. However, his development this season under Graham has been inspiring and motivating for his future.

The hope is that Big Blue can afford to retain him after his rookie contract expires, as he continues to build his skill-set and become a versatile player in every phase. This season, he’s spent a lot of time in the box, covering tight ends and running backs in the flat. He has a career-high 10 passes defended, double his previous amount of five in 2019. He also has 2.5 sacks, another career-high.

To round out how well he’s played this season, Peppers has already set career-highs in 11 starts — passes defended, sacks, tackles for loss, and missed tackle percentage.

Over the course of the season, he will set new records in tackles and quarterback hits. At this rate, he is becoming a staple for the Giants on defense and deserves the respect he has commanded.

Thankfully, Graham has found ways to maximize his strengths and utilize them in creative ways. Not only is he a high-energy player, but he finds personal reasons throughout the game to dominate, similar to NBA-Legend Michael Jordan. On one notable play in week 14, he busted through Seattle’s offensive line for a huge sack against Russell Wilson. His aggression on the specific place stemmed from an earlier battle he lost to RB Chris Carson, putting him on his behind a few plays later to record the sack.

Peppers is a special player who just needed time and the right coaching to find his groove, and the Giants are lucky to have his skill-set available on Sundays.

New York Giants Injuries: Jabrill Peppers out and Julian Love questionable

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

The New York Giants have already been hit hard enough by injuries this season, but luck isn’t letting up on them. Jabrill Peppers has been questionable ever since his injury in the most recent loss, but after not participating on Friday practice he has been ruled out entirely.

The blow comes harder for the Giants considering the preseason injury to Xavier McKinney. With both the projected starting safeties from before the season sitting out, the team is in an awkward spot at the position going into a matchup with the Rams, who scored more than 30 points in each of their last two games.

Peppers isn’t the only player in the secondary that might miss time against the Rams. The secondary is pretty banged up in general and defensive back Julian Love may also be out. Love’s status is only questionable, but it doesn’t look good that he hasn’t been confirmed as healthy yet.

“We plan on having him practice. We’ll see how he’s moving around. He practiced well for us yesterday. We’ll see him out there today on the practice field,” Joe Judge said about Love before practice on Friday. But despite having limited participation in practice, nothing has been confirmed about Love being ready for Sunday’s game.

Love and Peppers are currently listed on ESPN’s depth chart as the starting safeties for the Giants. With potentially both of them out, it’s not a good outlook for the team. The Giants will have to get creative and experiment with the position, but even if they get an acceptable performance, it will be at the cost of taking talent away from the cornerback spot.

New York Giants: Jabrill Peppers missed practice, could still return Sunday

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

The New York Giants don’t need more long term injuries this season, but Jabrill Peppers still has a questionable injury status. The safety who was injured in the blowout loss on Sunday didn’t practice on Wednesday. But his condition isn’t bad enough that the staff have ruled him out for the next game. As of now, it’s a tossup whether Peppers will play or not.

Peppers has a low ankle sprain but the length that this injury puts someone out can vary. On the lower end of the spectrum it can see a player bounce back in a week, but on the higher end it may put someone out for several months. It depends on the severity of the injury, and the Giants haven’t revealed the specific situation for Peppers.

Still, the fact that Peppers hasn’t been officially ruled out tells us that there’s at least a chance of a comeback for the Rams game. With the Giants set to take on a 2-1 team that scored over 30 points in each of their last two appearances, there’s an incentive to get Peppers back on the field for this one.

Linebacker David Mayo was also absent in practice and Joe Judge was noncommittal when asked about his recovery.

“It’s not official yet right now. He’s with the trainers. We still have a couple days to get it. I don’t anticipate seeing him practicing today,” Judge said to the media on Wednesday.

With other players such as Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard already sitting out for varying lengths of time due to injury, the Giants will need as many healthy players as possible to have a chance at bouncing back this year. It remains to be seen if Mayo and Peppers will be healthy come Sunday.

Giants Injury News: Mayo Eligible to Return This Week

New York Giants, David Mayo

The New York Giants linebacking corps could get a boost this week as David Mayo (knee) becomes eligible to return to the active roster fro m injured reserve.

Mayo has been on IR since Sept. 6 after suffering a torn meniscus in his left knee during training camp. Under the new injury rules, players are eligible to return after three games and should the team choose to bring them back to practice, they have 21 days to activate them to the 53-man roster.

Head coach Judge said they could have a decision on Mayo as early as Tuesday.

Mayo played in all 16 games and started in the last 13 games replacing the injured Ryan Connelly. Mayo was second on the Giants with a career-high 80 tackles (50 solo), including two sacks.

“We’ll kind of look and see where that goes,” head coach Joe Judge said. “He’s with the trainers. I know he’s been working hard. I see him around the building. I don’t get a lot of time with him on the grass, but they say he’s working his butt off every day and improving on a daily basis. We have to look and see where he’s at. For us, it’s in his best interest to make sure that when we start that 21-day clock, that he’s in a position that he’s not going to have any setbacks that would take him past that 21-day clock. I want to make sure we do the right thing by him by not rushing him back before he’s fully ready, and that would keep him possibly off the field for the entire year. I want to make sure we go ahead and do right by him.”

Two other injuries to watch are safety Jabrill Peppers (ankle) and left tackle Andrew Thomas. Peppers turned his ankle on a special teams during a 49ers’ field goal attempt in the first quarter and did not return.

Thomas came out of the game during the final series and was replaced by another rookie, Matt Peart. Judge did not disclose if there was any physical issue with Thomas.

“I’d say with Andrew, you guys asked about him yesterday, he did finish the game,” Judge said. “There was nothing significant to really go over today with the trainers. Jabrill, I don’t have a timetable on him for anything. We’re going to evaluate him day to day. We’ll see where he is. He had that lower leg. They’re going through a couple more things with the doctor this afternoon, but it looks like it could go either way at this point right here.”


New York Giants: Jabrill Peppers’ injury diagnosis revealed

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

The New York Giants’ embarrassing loss to the San Francisco 49ers in week three was followed by some uncompromising injury news regarding starting strong safety Jabrill Peppers.

After falling backward on an extra point attempt, Peppers went down in severe pain, limping off the field a few minutes later. From the angle that was given, it looked like his ankle got caught underneath an opposing lineman, which could have resulted in something far worse than the actual diagnosis.

According to Ian Rappaport of NFL network, Peppers suffered a low ankle sprain, which is far better than the alternative. A high ankle sprain would’ve kept him out for a minimum of four weeks, but this injury should only last two weeks maximum before he can return. As Rapaport mentions, Julian Love filled the strong safety role last season when Peppers missed time with a hip injury.

However, new signing Logan Ryan could also fill that role, given his experience and size. I do believe that Love will slide into strong safety, given his experience last year, and Ryan will take over at free safety.

Nonetheless, the configurations are just semantics after a JV 49ers squad trampled over the Giants on their home turf, literally. By a score of 36-9, the Giants weren’t able to stop Nick Mullens and a team filled with reserves. That was more of a testament to their superior coaching and game plan. Creativity on offense and a more robust defense lead to a comfortable victory for the 49ers, and the Giants are now left to reevaluate everything they’ve done the past few months.

Of course, somebody needs to answer for the wrongdoings of this team in the talent department and game planning. Former head coach Pat Shurmur was the scapegoat in 2019, but general manager Dave Gettleman should be counting his final seconds with the Giants’ organization. Ownership doesn’t usually fire general managers midseason, but Gettleman is three years into his tenure, and the team has taken steps backward.


How could the New York Giants use Jabrill Peppers on offense?

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

The New York Giants are going to have to get creative in 2020 if they wish to walk away with a winning record. With one of the strongest schedules in the NFL, a young team with second-year quarterback Daniel Jones under center will have a tall task ahead of them.

Defensively, a majority of their units are inexperienced and have minimal chemistry with one another. Live-action will ultimately provide that cohesion, but I anticipate early struggles.

Nonetheless, head coach Joe Judge is keen on being creative and utilizing his players to their maximum potential. Safety Jabrill Peppers could be factored in, in multiple ways, mostly on special teams. While Peppers only returned four puns and one kickoff last year, his first two seasons in the NFL saw him return 55 punts and 33 kickoffs. I expect the Giants to utilize him in a more prevalent role as a return man this upcoming season.

New York Giants’ head coach Joe Judge is excited about the possibilities with Peppers:

“I think one thing specifically on Jabrill is the versatility he brings to you,” head coach Joe Judge said this week. “He’s a guy that obviously plays a large number of roles for us on defense. He’s also handled core roles on coverage units, he’s been a returner in the past. He’s a guy that loves football. Really what he is, he’s kind of that kid in the classroom who won’t sit still. He keeps wiggling. So, you have to keep him busy all the time, otherwise he gets disruptive.

Winning is the goal of any football team, and utilizing your best players to get the job done is a necessity.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to win,” Peppers said.

“Absolutely, absolutely. Definitely,” he sais when asked about being involved on offense.

Many NFL teams utilize players on both sides of the ball, and Peppers could be an attractive option in the wild cat. With his ability to make defenders miss and make explosive plays, giving him the ball could be a solid idea.

I wouldn’t anticipate Peppers making an appearance on offense unless it was a trick play, utilizing Saquon Barkley in the backfield and creating mismatches. They can both carry the ball at extremely high levels and make plays out of nothing. Judge prioritizes using players’ strengths and finding ways to unlock potential, and Peppers could easily find his way into their offensive scheme in some precarious way.

Notable two-way players:

-Adoree Jackson

-Devin Hester

-Mike Vrabel

-JJ Watt

-Donatri Poe


New York Giants’ Jabrill Peppers could have a crazy unique role in 2020

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

The New York Giants aren’t leaving any stone unturned with their roster. New head coach Joe Judge plans on extracting the best out of each player, even if that means playing them at positions you wouldn’t normally see. For example, Judge didn’t rule out the possibility of playing Jabrill Peppers on offense but was also adamant that he featured as a special teams return man.

Peppers is an interesting character, built on restlessness and proactivity:

“He’s the kid in the classroom who won’t sit still and keeps wiggling so you have to keep him busy all the time otherwise he gets disruptive,” Judge said. “His involvement in special teams a lot of times is just to make sure he stays out of the other coaches’ hair for about 10 minutes of each period.”

What is the point of having a special teams unit if you’re not going to use your best players on it?

When you have an elite punt returner like Jabrill Peppers on the roster, who can break a game in the blink of an eye, not utilizing him is malpractice. In his first two years in the NFL, peppers enjoyed 33 kick returns and 55 punt returns, totaling 1,197 yards.

Last year with the Giants, Peppers was used on only one kick return and four punts, subsequently getting injured against the Chicago Bears and missing the remainder of the season. On the play, he made an incredible return, putting the Giants in great field position. That is simply the risk you have to take if you want to be a winning football team.

“Specifically on using starters on special teams, I’m a firm believer in using the best players for every situation possible,” Judge said. “Hey look, I don’t care if you’re playing 60 plays on defense or 60 plays on offense. If we need you on a unit for special teams and that’s best for the team, then that’s where you can make an impact.”

Judge didn’t rule out the possibility of using Jabrill on offense as well. Depending on the situation and if his skill set can be utilized in some way, it is always a positive thing to have talented players readily available.

“I wouldn’t limit anything we do with Jabrill to be honest,” head coach Joe Judge said on Thursday. “If he can add something to our team, whether it is a situational play, whether it is as a full-time player in a certain area of the field, absolutely. Anyone who can help the team, I have no problem doing it.”

“Guys like Troy Brown who played both ways or Julian Edelman,” Judge said. “Jules played nickel on the defense in the last drive of the AFC Championship Game in 2011. Then he flipped over and played receiver on offense, he was a punt returner, he covered kicks. It’s kind of whatever it takes. One of the phrases we use with players all of the time is ‘the more you can do, the more valuable you are to the team.’”

The New York Giants have taken a new approach:

Joe mentions one specific thing here that holds a ton of value. When he says, “the more you do the, more valuable you are to the team,” he really means it. Any single player can have an effect on every unit, which only helps them stick around longer and cement themselves on the roster.

That has been the Giants‘ mantra this off-season as they cut Ryan Connelly and Corey Coleman in favor of others. Being able to feature on special teams at the very least is a necessity, and at any given moment, a starter should be able to fill a role they’re not accustomed to.

Do the New York Giants have a 3-headed monster on defense?

New York Giants, Xavier McKinney, Jabrill Peppers

What the New York Giants are trying to achieve on defense does not happen in one off-season. General manager Dave Gettleman instituted a full roster rebuild after the 2018 season, trading away Odell Beckham Jr. and allocating a ton of draft capital toward rebuilding the secondary.

While the rebuild hasn’t shown many positive signs, youth agendas don’t normally translate to wins in the NFL. However, going into the second year of the rebuild, improvement should be on the horizon.

A big part of the team’s mantra on defense is versatility and creativity. Hiring defensive coordinator Patrick Graham will guarantee a reliance on man coverage and a schemed pass rush.

The secondary remains the biggest concern, after starting cornerback DeAndre Baker was placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List and reserve option Sam Beal opted out of the 2020 season. The safeties represent the unit with the most potential in the backfield, and head coach Joe Judge has high expectations for them on a weekly basis.

“Versatility’s a huge part of all of our systems – offense, defense and the kicking game,” Judge said. “Our defense is going to be multiple. That’s both by base scheme, it’s also going to be based by game plan, who the opponent is. You’re going to see four to six DBs on the field at certain times.

New York Giants’ three-headed monster:

1.) Xavier McKinney

When the New York Giants drafted Xavier McKinney with their second-round pick, nobody knew much about him. He was the number one rated safety on the board, but the Giants had a ton of other needs at the time. Nonetheless, he has a specific mold that allows him to transition from free to strong safety when called upon. He is fantastic in cover-1 defense and can move up to the line of scrimmage and play against the run. The biggest concern is tackling technique, but he understands his rookie season will be full of hiccups and developmental mistakes.

Nonetheless, his adaptation to the NFL has been more seamless than anticipated.

The former Alabama defender is familiar with the way head coach Joe Judge runs his team:

“When (coach Joe Judge) discussed some of his rules and how he wanted things to be handled and how we wanted us to be as a team, it was almost like a mirror version of how it was at Bama for me,” McKinney said. “As far as that, it was an easy adjustment for me. I’ve already been in this type of system. It wasn’t that hard of a transition.

According to Pro Football Focus, Xavier lined up as a strong safety on 323 snaps, free safety on 271, and slot corner on 227 in 2019 with the Crimson Tide.

Julian Love had a glowing review regarding McKinney:

“When Xavier was drafted, I just thought, ‘Wow, that’s great firepower for us,’ ” Love said. “I had heard about him, I know how he is as a person, as a player, how he prepares. I think that’s what we needed around here.”

2.) Jabrill Peppers

Jabrill Peppers had one of his best seasons in 2019, despite missing the final five games of the year with a hip injury. Making the permanent transition to strong safety has allowed him to play closer to the line of scrimmage and utilize his instincts to react.

A look at his stats (2017 & 2019 at SS):

2017 stats: 13 games — 58 combined tackles, 1 TFL, 0 QB hits, 3 PD, 0 FF, 1 INT

2019 stats: 11 games — 76 combined tackles, 5 TFL, 2 QB hits, 5 PD, 3 FF, 1 INT

He is better when aggressive then staying deep in the secondary as a ball hawk. I expect him to lock down opposing tight ends and provide coverage the Giants have lacked at the position in recent years.

“I see energy (in Peppers),” Head Coach Joe Judge told reporters last week. “You hear him before you see him. You know when he’s in the room. He’s a lively guy, he brings a lot of energy to the team, a lot of energy to the locker room. You can tell he’s a football guy. He loves ball. He flies around. You can tell if guys are on the field, whether it’s conditioning, whether it’s the limited version of practice we had this morning, you can tell football guys. He’s definitely a ball guy.”

3.) Julian Love

One player who has been standing out during padded practices is second-year defensive back, Julian Love. Despite playing predominantly cornerback at Notre Dame during college, he has made the transition to safety and has taken well to the position. The New York Giants are trying to utilize him as a utility player who can fill multiple roles and play based on matchups.

“There’s just a learning curve, so you’ve seen him improve every day,” coach Joe Judge said. “He’s been more vocal. That’s important in his role, being the signal-caller in the deep part of the field.

“He has the athletic ability that we’re going to play him in a different variety of spots based on the matchups. You see him play up in some man-coverage sometimes. We’re going to move him around as needed.”

Having a player like Love that can fill-in and start in specific scenarios is exciting. Pairing him with McKinney and Peppers should give the defense creativity but hasn’t been present for a long time. With a simpler and more fundamental style scheme under Graham, Love can maximize his talents and contribute to a team that desperately needs a semblance of improvement.