Julian Love is entering his fourth season with the New York Giants, and some experts believe the 24-year-old defensive back is about to step into a major role for 2022.
Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News wrote about Love in his “Spring Observations” report at the conclusion of minicamp and made a bold prediction: Love will be a team captain this year.
I think safety Julian Love should and will be a captain on this year’s Giants team. He comes across as the locker room’s conscience in many ways. He stepped forward after last December’s laugher in Philadelphia to challenge his teammates: “The guys who are ready to work, who are ready to put this team first, will show up come Wednesday.” And he stuck his neck out last week to say “I didn’t think we were given enough of a chance to compete” in that final light minicamp practice. Logan Ryan’s release was intentional to change the locker room leadership dynamic under this new regime. Love, who profiles for now as the starting strong safety, has the intangibles to step into that role …
ALL the latest Giants news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Giants newsletter here!
Last season, the Giants had seven team captains: quarterback Daniel Jones, running back Saquon Barkley, center Nick Gates, linebacker Blake Martinez, safety Jabrill Peppers, safety Logan Ryan and kicker Graham Gano. Jones, Barkley, Gates, Martinez and Gano are still with the team, but the Giants have to replace two team captains on defense (Peppers and Ryan).
Since joining the team in 2019 as a fourth-round draft pick out of Notre Dame, Love has appeared in every single game except for one where he was inactive during his rookie season. Although he has carved out a decent role within the Giants defense, he has only started 16 of the 48 games in which he has appeared.
Love has three career interceptions, including this one against Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes in Week 8 last season.
If Love does step up and become a team captain, he will be expected to make more game-changing plays like this one in 2022.
Listen to Julian Love Mic’d Up
Julian Love, who is grew up near Chicago, was mic’d up when the Giants visited the Bears in Week 17 last season. Although the Giants lost the game 29-3, Love showed valuable leadership skills throughout the game.
A few things stand out in this video. The first is Love’s command on special teams. Listen to the way he’s hyping up the punt coverage unit and barking out signals before the snap near the beginning of the video: “Seven man! Skip 2-4! Solid, solid! Set!”
The next thing that stands out is Love’s engagement on the sideline. Check him out around the 30-second mark, encouraging his teammate Pharoh Cooper after a nice return: “Yeah! There you go, Coop!” Right after that, there’s a clip of him hyping up his defensive teammates on the sideline.
The last thing that is really cool about this video is the way Love treats his opponent. After the game, he connects with Bears tight end and former Notre Dame teammate Cole Kmet: “Love you, man. Take care of yourself. Tell your family I said, ‘Hi.'”
That’s the type of guy you want leading your team.
Julian Love is Also a Comedian
Not only does Julian Love have a desire to become a more well-rounded player, he’s also a bit of a comedian. Listen to him joke around with the media while talking about blitzing the A-gap and his career sack total.
“I saw a few of them crying earlier today,” Love joked about the Giants offensive linemen. “That’s the big body package (flexes muscles). That’s why I’m in it. … I have 0.5 sack. I’m trying to find that other half sack this year.”
Love will have plenty of opportunities to find that half sack as a full-time starter (and potential team captain) in New York’s defense this season.