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Julian Love finally getting chance to be full-time starter for Giants

Versatile defensive back has filled every role in secondary for Giants over the past three seasons

New York Giants Mandatory Minicamp Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The New York Giants 2022 90-man roster is dotted with several veteran players who have an opportunity to show they can be more than they have previously shown in their NFL careers. One of those players is defensive back Julian Love.

Let’s discuss the fourth-year player out of Notre Dame as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the Giants’ 90-man roster.

By the numbers

Height: 5-foot-11
Weight: 195
Age: 24
Position: Safety
Experience: 3
Contract: Final year of four-year, $3.29 million contract | 2022 cap hit: $2.732 million

Career to date

Love has been almost everything for the Giants’ secondary in his three seasons.

  • 713 snaps at free safety
  • 401 snaps at slot cornerback
  • 367 snaps as a box safety
  • 188 snaps as a boundary cornerback
  • 69 snaps as a linebacker

There is only one role that has eluded Love — full-time starter. He has started five, six, and five games in his three seasons, totaling 16 starts in 48 games played.

Love’s best season, at least in terms of Pro Football Focus grades, was his rookie year of 2019. That year he compiled a career-best 70.5 grade while playing 194 of his 408 snaps either in the box or at linebacker.

2022 outlook

Logan Ryan is a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. Jabrill Peppers is a New England Patriot. That means the two players who have been standing between Love and a starting job are no longer Giants. Dane Belton is a rookie fourth-round pick who will likely have a role on defense, but it seems unlikely that role will — at least initially — involve supplanting Love as a starter.

After three seasons of being a do-everything backup the Giants seemed to used to plug a hole wherever one popped up in the secondary, Love finally appears to have a path to becoming a full-time starter.

In the final year of his rookie deal, Love is an old-timer by Giants standards. He and Dexter Lawrence, both in their fourth seasons, are the longest-tenured members of the team’s defense.

“I definitely feel a sense of leadership, a sense of urgency more than anything. I saw some stat somebody sent to me about me and Dex playing the most games as a Giant on the defense, which is crazy to think about,” Love said.

“But I’m just really trying to be a resource for all the young guys to get them going. My position is guys like Dane Belton are really coming along, some other young guys who are on their way right now. I’m just trying to be that personable guy. I’m not super old. I’m pretty young. So I’m right there to fill in the gap and kind of be that leader for everybody.”

The Giants need to develop some continuity. They need to be able to draft and develop more players who become foundational pieces and earn second contracts. Having a good 2022 season in his first chance to be a starter could turn Love into one of those players.