As mentioned before, we all know how bad the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ secondary has been over the years.
They need all the help they can get and the 2019 NFL Draft should be able to provide some of that help.
Could former Notre Dame cornerback Julian Love be in play? We won’t know until if/when his name is called, but until then, let’s take a look at the former standout.
Julian Love’s Career
Love was a 3-star recruit out of Nazareth Academy, located in La Grange Park, Illinois. He ranked as the 46th overall cornerback before heading to play for the Notre Dame Irish.
After starting the final eight games of his freshman season, Love set a school record for most pass break-ups in a single season (20) and led the team in interceptions (3) during his sophomore season.
After finishing out his junior season as a finalist for the Jim Thorpe award, Love decided to forego his senior year and enter the NFL Draft.
The 5-foot-11, 193-pound cornerback recorded five interceptions and 126 total tackles during his collegiate career. He finished his career as the all-time leader in pass break-ups at Notre Dame.
- Quick Feet
- Route Recognition/Awareness
Love relies on technique and competitiveness to get the job done. He has tremendous ball skills - evidenced by the records he broke at Notre Dame - and has the ability to read and react quickly on the field.
He’s competitive as hell, his technique is sound as hell, and he’s always near the ball. Very little do you see him out of position or blowing assignments. A lot of that is also due to patience.
Tackling is also a major plus with this kid. He won’t lay anyone out, but rarely do you see him miss as he attempts to take down an opponent.
The biggest issue is Love’s lack of strength. He ran a 4.54 at the combine, but could only muster 14 reps on the bench press. Slower corners have to be stronger in order to keep NFL receivers in front of them and so they don’t get beat at the top of routes, which has happened to Love on plenty of occasions.
He will also have trouble with the more “speedster” receiver due to his lack of quickness, burst, and overall speed. Teams will likely have to drop a safety over the top to help him out and they won’t be able to leave him on an island - depending on the matchup.
Why The Buccaneers Need Him
In today’s NFL, it’s important to have depth at cornerback, especially if you’re the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Will It Happen?
Love will likely go in the second round, but it feels like the 38th pick would be just a bit too high, especially considering the draft stock the Bucs have recently invested in the position.
Tampa Bay just has too many needs in other areas to spend a high pick on a player that may have to play in a specific scheme in order to be successful.
If he were to drop to the third round or later, then sure, it could happen - but that’s not likely and neither is Love wearing the pewter and red.