Julian Love is one of the best cornerbacks in Notre Dame history: he holds the records for pass breakups in a single season (20, a mark that stood since 1969) and career (39) despite only playing three seasons for the Irish. Now, he'll patrol the defensive backfield for the New York Giants.
The Giants used a fourth-round selection, 108th overall, to pick up the Notre Dame All-American, who was the eighth cornerback taken in the draft. There has been a run of corners selected since the beginning of the second round and Love finally got his call on the third day, after some predicted he could be drafted as early as the second round.
Love's size (he's just 5-foot-11) and lack of blazing speed (he ran a 4.54 40 at the Combine) could have hindered his stock, but his instincts are so good while the ball is in the air that he plays bigger and faster than he is. Remember, Notre Dame was hanging with Clemson in the Cotton Bowl until Love left the game with an injury in the second quarter and quarterback Trevor Lawrence immediately began torching the Irish secondary.
"Pure and simple, Love is a cover guy who possesses the feet, hips, instincts and competitiveness you want in a corner," NFL.com's Lance Zierlein wrote. "He operates with outstanding technique from both man and zone, and his ability to anticipate and recognize routes allows for stickier coverage.
"He's more finesse than physical and his lack of top speed might need to be schemed around with certain matchups. However, Love’s cover talent, intelligence and ball skills give him a good shot at succeeding outside or from the slot."
Love joins a Giants team that is in flux, having just traded away Odell Beckham Jr. and drafted Duke quarterback Daniel Jones No. 6 overall as a potential heir to Eli Manning. None of that offensive drama affects Love, who could come in and compete for playing time immediately. He'll have to battle with fellow corner Deandre Baker of Georgia, whom New York grabbed late in the first round. He'll join former Notre Dame receiver Golden Tate with the Giants.