The Seattle Seahawks began free agency with a splash signing in former Denver Broncos defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones, then returned to the familiar path of inexpensive acquisitions at positions of need, including former New York Giants safety Julian Love. The former Notre Dame star figures to have a major role in the Seahawks secondary, especially after the team opted to withdraw its tender to Ryan Neal, making him an unrestricted free agent. Love agreed to a two-year contract worth up to $12 million, and he has a reputation for being a versatile player who can play both safety and slot corner.
1.) One of the selling points for Seahawks fans is that Love is a versatile player. What were his primary roles in the Giants secondary?
During his four years with the Giants love did just about everything a defensive back can do. Former Giants coach Joe Judge used to call Love the team’s Duct Tape for any hole that popped up in the secondary, and it was and is an apt description. He can play free or strong safety. He’s not big, but he has had success at times in the box. He can play in the slot. He has even filled in at boundary cornerback at times, which is the position he played at Notre Dame. Love has also been a core special teamer. Here are his snaps by position from PFF (and yes, there are two snaps as a running back in Victory formation):
If you want to play a multiple defense where players can move around and do a variety of things, Love is an excellent fit.
2.) What stands out to me is Love has 13 tackles for loss in his career, including a career-high six last season. How frequent and how good of a blitzer is Love?
Love doesn’t blitz a lot. PFF had him blitzing only 23 times last season, including two playoff games. He can blitz, but I think a lot of those TFLs come because he is an aggressive run defender who can function close to the line of scrimmage.
3.) What are his biggest strengths and weaknesses? Is he better against the run or the pass or is it roughly the same?
I would say he is roughly the same. I just look at him as a good player and a really good, accountable locker room guy who is willing to do whatever is required. He isn’t the best athlete, but he is smart, aggressive and is a good tackler and you won’t find him out of position often. To let you know a little more about Love, he played 105 snaps (85 on defense, 20 on special teams) in an overtime game last year against Washington. Another thing is that the Giants used their safeties to call defensive signals, and Love handled that job after Xavier McKinney injured his hand while on vacation in Cabo during the bye week.
4.) How big a loss is Love to the Giants’ defense, and do you believe he’ll be a good fit for a Seahawks secondary that relies pretty heavily on its safeties?
Love is a loss for the Giants, but in my view not an irreplaceable one. Last year was his first as a starter and he was valuable. He played well, he continued being a core special teamer, he was named a captain and he won the media Good Guy Award. Thing is, I think last year is pretty much the ceiling of what you are going to get from him. I’m just not sure there is more upside, and while the Giants did try to re-sign him they needed to save some cap space somewhere. They have a couple of young safeties they like in Jason Pinnock and Dane Belton.
I think Love can be a useful, productive piece in any secondary.
Thanks to Ed for answering my questions! Hopefully Love can continue his good play in Seattle and be an important role player in Seattle’s rebuilding defense.