Don’t assume that just because the Pittsburgh Steelers signed Steven Nelson that drafting a cornerback is off the table. With a history of poor drafting at the position over the last ten years, the Steelers have to do their due diligence in re-building the position. Julian Love of Notre Dame could be part of that.
Julian Love, Cornerback
5’11” 193 pounds
Hometown: Westchester, IL
2018 Jim Thorpe Award Finalist… Nagurski Watchlist… Notre Dame career leader in pass break-ups… Majored in Management Consulting… Led high school (Nazereth) to back-to-back state titles while averaging over 10 yards per carry as a RB his senior season.
Key Combine Numbers:
40 yard dash: 4.54… Bench 14 reps at 225lbs… 36″ vertical… 121″ broad jump… 3-Cone Drill 6.72
What’s to Like
Smart kid/processes what he is seeing quickly… Learns as game moves on/Rarely gets beat on same routes… Can play either boundary well… Re-directs receivers well especially to the outside… Uses boundary well as an “extra defender”… Plays with good physicality… Sticks to the hip of receivers going across the middle/forces QB to make a perfect throw… Really good break on the ball… Recovers well despite lack of top speed… Good hip turn and he transitions well from backpeddle… Can be effective in both man coverage and zone… Foot quickness could allow him to play the slot
Has to get off blocks better/Needs more urgency when engaged… Isn’t overly aggressive against the run… Lack of top end speed is a concern/elite WRs can get past him… Will occasionally whiff on tackles because he doesn’t break down… Goes low on most tackles and will miss ball carriers as a result… Tough kid but doesn’t always play like it… Will need solid safety help over the top at the NFL level… His numbers aren’t spread out over a season but rather most of his pass breakups are from just a few games.
Love is a guy I really want to like and I do but there are some things you have to take into account. He has to display more effort when getting blocked. When guys get locked on he’s toast. I don’t see a guy who plays every play hard away from the ball. When the ball goes away he doesn’t do much to get involved and he is no hurry to put a hit on anyone. What Love is though is a smart kid who sees things in front of him and processes well. He’s a good athlete with really good timing and his hand use in defending the pass is excellent. He has the potential to become a starter but having good safeties behind him will be vital due to his lack of speed. He’ll make pays because of his smarts and overall athleticism but his unwillingness to be aggressive when tackling is a concern for me especially knowing how much the Steelers prize good tackling from their corners.
Final Grade: Mid-Late Second Rounder
Games Watched: vs Michigan (2018), vs. Stanford (2018), vs Vanderbilt (2018), vs Michigan State (2017)
Credits: und.com, sports-reference.com, youtube.com