Julian Love lands on ESPN's list of top 25 breakout players of 2020
Giants second-year defensive back Julian Love did not see the field much on defense in the first 10 games of his rookie season. Through the Giants' bye (Week 11), Love received just a handful of defensive snaps while most of his playing time came on special teams.
But things changed in Week 12. Jabrill Peppers injured his back in the first half of the game against the Chicago Bears, leading to Love taking over at safety. The young DB out of Notre Dame would go on to register his first career interception and pass breakup while playing in front of friends and family in Chicago, and never looked back.
Love played at least 97 percent of the Giants' defensive snaps in each of the team's final five games of the year and looked more than comfortable filling in for Peppers. The 2019 fourth round pick finished his rookie campaign with 35 tackles (28 solo), five tackles for loss, one quarterback hit, one interception, three passes defended and one forced fumble.
Pro Football Focus praised Love for his performance following the conclusion of the season, ranking the defensive back No. 13 on its Top 50 NFL rookie rankings. Love earned the ninth-best PFF grade in the box over the final six weeks of the season and allowed just 19 yards on his 80 coverage snaps at that alignment.
PFF is not the only media outlet to applaud Love for his play during his first NFL season. This week, ESPN released a list of its top 25 young prospects who could break out in 2020. The list does not include players who were selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.
Coming in at No. 12 is none other than the Giants' second-year defensive back.
As ESPN's Rivers McCown writes, "One of the youngest players on the list, Love was an easy middle-of-the-field pick for the Giants in the middle rounds of the draft, and one of the few players who showed Dave Gettleman recognizes that the passing game exists. Love essentially didn't break the lineup until Week 12 but played almost all the Giants snaps from Week 13 to the end of the season. Over that span, we have Love credited with 21 targets into his coverage, of which he allowed just 72 yards and one touchdown. He moved from cornerback to strong safety to replace the injured Jabrill Peppers.
Coming out of Notre Dame in 2019, Love was regarded as a very safe fit as an NFL slot corner with great coverage instincts. The combine caused his draft stock some damage because he ran a 4.55 40-yard dash, just under the 4.6 mark that draftniks generally consider a corner too slow. That was the main grievance that took him out of the top two rounds despite breaking up 39 passes in his final two seasons for the Irish.
With the selection of Xavier McKinney in the second round, the Giants have the makings of a good nickel or dime set with Love, McKinney and Peppers. We don't exactly know what Love is going to technically be called, be it safety or corner, but he's going to play in the middle of the field and he's going to cause havoc."
View photos of Giants second-year defensive back Julian Love.
Giants 2020 Position Preview: Quarterbacks
With training camp officially underway, Giants.com has been taking a look at the team's depth at each position group heading into the 2020 season. Next up are the quarterbacks.
Daniel Jones leads the way in the quarterback room after his promising rookie campaign. In 13 games (12 starts), the first-year quarterback completed nearly 62 percent of his passes for 3,027 yards, 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. His 24 touchdown passes led all rookie quarterbacks, while his 3,027 passing yards finished third. Jones added 45 rushes for 279 yards (6.2 yards per carry) and an additional two rushing scores to his final stats.
Jones set several franchise rookie records with his performance last season, including most passing yards, passing touchdowns, highest completion percentage, completions (284), pass attempts (459) and several more. In addition, he became the first rookie quarterback in NFL history with three games of four or more passing touchdowns with zero interceptions.
Behind Jones, the Giants have a few intriguing quarterback options. Veteran Colt McCoy signed with the team this offseason following six years in Washington. In 40 games (28 starts) across nine seasons, McCoy has completed almost 61 percent of his passes for 6,080 yards and 29 touchdowns.
The Giants claimed Cooper Rush off waivers from the Cowboys back in May, reuniting the quarterback with Jason Garrett, the former Cowboys head coach and the Giants' new offensive coordinator. While he did not see the field much during his time in Dallas, attempting just three passes across three seasons, Rush had a successful collegiate career at Central Michigan. As a member of the Chippewas, Rush completed 60 percent of his passes for 12,891 yards, 90 touchdowns and 55 interceptions over four seasons.
Alex Tanney returns to the Giants for his third season with the team. Tanney saw action in just one game last season, coming in for Eli Manning at the end of the team's Week 15 matchup against the Miami Dolphins. He completed his only pass attempt for one yard.
The final quarterback in camp is undrafted rookie free agent Case Cookus. Cookus had a strong career at Northern Arizona, throwing for over 4,100 yards, 31 touchdowns and just seven interceptions as a redshirt senior in 2019. He finished his collegiate career with 12,082 passing yards, 105 touchdowns and 21 interceptions while completing over 62 percent of his passes in 41 games.
Giants take field for first time as conditioning begins
With training camp officially underway, the Giants have begun to hit the field for conditioning.
Check out the gallery below for photos of the first group of player workouts.
View photos of the Giants taking the field for conditioning drills as training camp gets underway.