Julian Love ended his rookie year with the New York Giants in stellar fashion. He shined while serving as an injury replacement at safety for starter Jabrill Peppers in Big Blue’s final five games. Now, entering 2020, Love hopes to play alongside Peppers as the team’s starting free safety.
“Oh, definitely, that thought crosses my mind every day,’’ Love told Paul Schwartz of the NYPost in response to potentially nailing down a starting gig in the Giants’ secondary this coming season. “I want to be the safety of the future for the Giants” Love, who is currently living with his parents in Chicago during the pandemic, said.
I believe I’m the guy. If I didn’t feel that way I wouldn’t say that. But I do feel like that. I’ve been working real hard. I want to go there and get everything in motion and really have a dominant year.
Love Starred in Limited Action in 2019
Over Love’s five-game stretch as the team’s starting safety to close out the season, he put up more than enough positive game film to leave the Giants feeling confident in his ability to man the position for the foreseeable future.
Love compiled a grand total of 37 tackles on a 92% tackle success rate, five TFL, three pass breakups and one interception. His play on the field helped him earn a placing on Pro Football Focus’ Top 50 NFL Rookies list, ranking 13th overall. According to PFF, Love earned the ninth-best grade in the box and allowed a minuscule 19 yards on 80 coverage snaps at that alignment.
Love’s impressive grading doesn’t end there. As Schwartz pointed out “he [Love] graded out as the 32nd-ranked safety in the league by Pro Football Focus, ahead of Peppers (No. 48) and ahead of Landon Collins (No. 41), the former Giants second-round pick who left in free agency in 2019 and signed with the Redskins.”
Love Ready For Competition
At the moment, the free safety spot appears to be Love’s to lose. The only player brought in thus far this offseason at the safety position has been Nate Ebner, who dating back to his collegiate days at Ohio State and throughout his career with the New England Patriots has played more than 50 defensive snaps just once over the past 12 years.
The next logical place the Giants could find potential competition for Love would be in this month’s NFL Draft, something he is evidently prepared for.
If they did bring in a safety, I know I have multiple traits and multiple strengths to kind of play any position and be successful. I really feel I can be a safety for this team, what this team needs, so I’m going to go in, I’ve been working hard, I want to go in and hit the ground running to show everybody that, despite who comes in.
Whatever the draft brings or this offseason brings, I take it all with a grain of salt. Even if they don’t take anybody and I just happen to fall in on Day 1 to be in that position of safety I know I need to work to really not just be ‘a’ safety on this team but to really lead from that back end. That’s kinda my mindset.