1. Julian Love
One internal candidate that the NY Giants could tap to be the second outside cornerback is their current starting free safety, Julian Love. Love was drafted as a cornerback out of the University of Notre Dame, where he was a starter for four years.
Some experts felt that a move to safety would benefit Love because he didn’t have elite speed at the cornerback position. However, if you watch any film from his playing days with the Fighting Irish, you will quickly recognize that Love was excellent in coverage at the cornerback position and possesses the intangibles to succeed at the professional level.
The issue with moving Julian Love from the free safety position to the cornerback position is that he has been excelling at safety and it thus weakens an already thin safety corps. However, the Giants’ plans for their defensive secondary unit have had to remain very fluid due to a plethora of issues throughout the offseason.
The Giants were keen on the idea of utilizing Love’s versatility in different packages while starting the duo of Jabrill Peppers and Xavier McKinney at strong safety and free safety. With McKinney suffering a fractured foot, the team decided to move Love into the free safety position, which negated the versatility that he brought to the defense.
Furthermore, Logan Ryan was brought in off the strength of his versatility, and it would seem like a waste of money to bring him in to be the third safety for now and the fourth safety when McKinney eventually comes back.
Corey Ballentine and Julian Love are almost identical in size, as Love is 5’10 3/4″ and 195-pounds and Ballentine is 5’11” and 196-pounds. As a result, size is not a concern when considering switching Ballentine with Love at cornerback. It should be noted that Love does have a longer wingspan than Ballentine.
Ballentine is a bit faster than Love, as he ran a 4.47-second time in the 40-yard dash event at the NFL Combine, versus the 4.54-second time that Love ran. In fact, Ballentine posted more athletic numbers across the board at the NFL Combine versus Love.
While Ballentine might be more athletic than Love, Love clearly has better coverage skills at this point. If the NY Giants are comfortable with downgrading their safety position by moving Love to cornerback, he may very well be a viable internal option for them.