The New York Giants are in quite the inopportune position at the moment when it comes to their cornerback position. 2019 1st-round pick DeAndre Baker’s gun and robbery charges have left a potential glaring hole opposite big-ticket free-agent signee James Bradberry on the G-Men’s defense.
However, the best man for the job may actually already be on the Giants roster, and he’s not even a cornerback at the moment.
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Julian Love Destined for Switch Back to CB?
Giants’ soon-to-be 2nd-year defender Julian Love seemed primed to nail down a starting safety gig opposite Jabrill Peppers this season. The former Notre Dame standout performed admirably down the stretch a season ago, starting the final five games for Big Blue.
Love was clearly eyeing the starting safety spot this year, and likely still is, stating “I want to be the safety of the future for the Giants,” just over a month ago.
However, the likelihood of that actually coming to fruition has deteriorated greatly since last month’s draft, when projected 1st-round safety Xavier McKinney fell into the lap of the Giants atop Round 2.
McKinney, who one ex-GM called the single-best selection in the entire draft, obviously carries high regard around the league and is the type of player that many project to step in day-one and play meaningful snaps.
That could make Love the odd man out at the safety position. However, in the long run, it may make the Giants’ cornerback position stronger.
Love Was Once Viewed as a Top-Level CB Prospect
Coming out of Notre Dame, Love was a dominant, lock-down cornerback for the Fighting Irish. Over his three-year run in South Bend, Love accumulated 39 pass breakups, five interceptions and two defensive touchdowns.
Love was viewed by many as a 1st-to-2nd-round prospect when he opted to forgo his senior season at Notre Dame. NFL.com’s draft expert Lance Zierlein had glowing remarks to say about Love coming out of college, even comparing him to the likes of Denver Broncos pro bowl cornerback AJ Bouye.
“Pure and simple, Love is a cover guy who possesses the feet, hips, instincts and competitiveness you want in a corner,” Zierlein said. “He operates with outstanding technique from both man and zone, and his ability to anticipate and recognize routes allows for stickier coverage — Love’s cover talent, intelligence and ball skills give him a good shot at succeeding outside or from the slot.”
Zierlein isn’t the only one to speak highly on Love’s skills as a cornerback. Upon the news of DeAndre Baker’s allegations, Pro Football Focus quickly reminded everyone of how well Love graded out on their draft board just one year ago.
Julian Love was the 7th CB on PFF’s Board in 2019, and forced 18 incompletions (90.7 coverage grade) his last year at Notre Dame, 3rd best among eligible cornerbacks in his draft class.
Whether Baker remains part of the Giants’ future or not, Love is simply too good of a talent to keep on the sidelines, especially for a defense that ranked 5th-worst in passing yards allowed one season ago. As of right now, it appears that a switch back to his natural position of cornerback would be the best way to get the Giants’ best defensive backs all on the football field at once.