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Is Julian Love The Nickelback Redskins’ Fans Would Love To Have In Washington?

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Hogs Haven takes a look at 2019 NFL Draft prospects that could contribute to the Redskins

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Julian Love, CB
School: Notre Dame | Conference: Independents
Experience: Junior | Age: 20 (will turn 21 prior to the draft)
Height / Weight: 5-11 / 193 lbs
Projected Draft Status: Round 2-3
NFL Comparison: Tavon Young

College Statistics

PFF’s Advanced Stats: “He finished with the fourth-highest coverage grade among cornerbacks and forced an incompletion on 22.8% of his targeted passes. His 14 stops in coverage were good enough for seventh most this year as he had no trouble bringing down ball carriers whether it was a receiver or a running back. In total, he missed just four of his 64 tackle attempts this year.”

Player Overview

Despite average measurables (Listed at 5’11/193. Recorded a time of 4.53 seconds), Love has been playing at an All-American level the past three seasons. After his Freshman All-Americans season in 2016, the next season Love broke the Fighting Irish’ single-season record for pass break-ups, which was set in 1970.

In just three seasons, Love broke the Notre Dame record for single season and career pass break-ups. No wonder, Love was ranked 30th in Pro Football Focus’ end of the season 101 Best Players In College Football, and their 6th ranked corner.

While Notre Dame lost big to Clemson in the college football playoffs, don’t blame Love.

Per Rotoworld - “While Love was out in the second quarter (minor head injury), Lawrence went 13-of-15 for 229 yards and three TDs. In the three quarters in which Love played, Lawrence went 14-of-24 for 98 yards and zero TD.”

Clearly, Love is a natural baller to say the least. So it would only make sense that his girlfriend Julia Veome, who started her own skincare line, would call it NaturalBaller.com.

For more about his back-ground, read HERE.

Athletic Traits

Love may not be a fit for every team. He may not have the length some teams look for, or the pure speed that others prioritize. He probably will not set the world on fire at the NFL Combine. Strictly athletically speaking, I think he compares best to current Browns’ corner EJ Gaines.

Before becoming the Raiders’ new GM, NFL analyst Mike Mayock would always talks about the importance of the ability to “flip your hips” but says the two characteristics he prioritizes at corner are 1) being able to locate and make a play on the ball when your back is turned and 2) you got to be competitive in all phases of the game, including tackling.

Julian Love excels at both.

The Film

During the 2017 season, Love had a great game vs NC State. He finished with three pass breakups (including the Hail Mary he batted down to end the first half) and added a pick-six in the third quarter that he ran back 69 yards for a touchdown.

This game was a great challenge for the Love and the rest of the Irish defense, as the Wolfpack offense featured QB Ryan Finley, RBs Jaylen Samuels and Nyheim Hines, and WRs Kelvin Harmon and Jakobi Meyers.

For those wishing to see a condensed version of the entire game, here it is.

However, Love struggled with the size of the Stanford receivers, specifically ......

Watch more of his film

Strengths

  • 39 passes defended, including 35 pass break-ups and four interceptions over the past two seasons.
  • Instincts and vision serve him well in zone coverage.
  • Ballhawk with excellent click and close ability.
  • Fluid athlete.
  • Anticipates and mirrors routes.
  • An efficient tackler in the open field.
  • Durable. Has never missed a game in his career, starting the past 34 contests.
  • Experienced on kick and punt coverages.

Weaknesses

  • Built more like a NCB than an outside CB. Lacks elite length for the position (looks shorter than his listed 5’11 with short arms).
  • Long speed is a question (running a 4.49 second 40 would be a “win” for him)
  • Not a vocal leader.
  • Lack of size has already been a problem at time, and he is likely to be exposed by certain match-ups.

What Others Are Saying

CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson recently mocked Love to the Los Angeles Rams with the 32nd overall pick. (The first time I have seen Love mocked in the first round)

The Notre Dame-centric website Slap The Sign makes a good point - ” In the past, Love’s size probably would have been a bigger issue. A lot of teams historically targeted bigger receivers who were tough matchups against sub-six foot corners — especially in jump-ball situations. The new NFL offenses, however, seem to be about stockpiling speedy, shifty route-runners in the mold of guys like Antonio Brown, Julian Edelman and Tyreek Hill.”

Irish WR Miles Boykin - “He’s smart, he’s quick, he’s extremely detailed in his preparation,” Boykin says. “He’s a quick-twitch type of corner. He plays the ball very well in the air. He’s always around the ball as well, whether it’s making a tackle or causing a fumble or recovering it. He’s right there.”

How He Would Fit On The Redskins

In 2018, Fabian Moreau was moved to nickel, to fill in for the traded Kendall Fuller. There are those that feel Moreau’s skill set would be better on the outside, or even coming off the bench. Before he was shipped out of town, Fuller had been outstanding as a slot-defender, and perhaps that position still needs an upgrade.

Notre Dame has a long and storied history, making Julian Love’s record breaking number of pass break-ups all the more impressive. Love has second day talent as a cover corner, but he’s not as big as you want to play on the outside. A move into the slot would make sense, given his sure tackling and quicker than fast athletic profile.

Personally, I consider his a top-50 pick, but I don’t think the NFL will see him that way. Desmond King, Eric Murray, and EJ Gaines each slid in the draft despite productive careers due to their pedestrian athletic profile. However, Love is a natural baller, and would be a steal if he isn’t selected until the third round.