Defensive back Julian Love knows where he fits into the New York Giants defense.
Love, listed as a safety on the Giants' roster sheet, can do much more. He can play in the slot, and he can play at cornerback, the latter position what he played so well while at Notre Dame.
He can also contribute on special teams, and if the coaches asked him to serve Gatorade on the sideline, he'd probably do that as well.
"Just do whatever they ask me. I’m ready for it all," he said Friday.
Love, the Giants' fourth-round pick in 2019, had a rather odd start to his NFL career. Despite showing flashes of ability, he was buried on the depth chart, assigned to special teams for the first 11 games of that season.
But when Love finally got his opportunity, it wasn't exclusively at cornerback; rather, he was moved around the defense, seeing snaps at free safety, in the box, slot corner, wide corner, and even a few on the defensive line.
"It was different, but I enjoyed it," Love said of moving around so much. "I just tried to be on the football field as much as I can. I’m a student of the game, so I’m always learning. I had some great vets teaching me the game. Obviously, new coaches that helped me a lot. I feel good the longer I’ve been now at each position."
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Love's versatility should help him to get on the field a lot this coming season as defensive coordinator Patrick Graham tries to sort out how he will be deploying the abundance of talent he's been given at defensive back.
"From day one, Coach Judge, he told us that he rewards versatility, and he’s a man of his word in everything he does," Love said. "As you can see, a lot of us played multiple spots last year.
"That’s truly what he believes in, so now this year obviously we have a lot on the back end especially with the secondary, so we’re going to be versatile. Joe Judge, he loves that, and Pat Graham really appreciates that. We’re going to really attack it and be multiple in every way they see."
An added benefit of the defensive back talent, which like Love, is versatile enough to play multiple positions, is how much more expansive the team's defensive playbook might become.
"You have so many tools, so many weapons that you can be creative," Love surmised.
"You’re not going to overcomplicate things, for sure, but what he wants us to do is just get our boots on the ground and play fast. However he sees us doing that is how we’re going to do it, and that’s on us, too. We want to be doing multiple things and more things, so we got to get our easy stuff down quick and just really play aggressive and fast."
A bonus, according to Love, is that the defensive backs room has become much more competitive.
"I think we have a lot of talent. It’s clear to see that. We’re excited. Joe Judge always says, ‘In the Mississippi heat, it takes more than one set of hands to grease the pig.’ So we’re excited just to all work together collectively as a group."