It's been well documented this season just how young this Giants defense is. They have the most amount of rookie snaps of any team in the NFL, and it's mainly because of their starters on defense.
First-round cornerback DeAndre Baker has been starting since Day One, and so has DT Dexter Lawrence. Mix in players like LB Ryan Connelly (out for the season with torn ACL), OLB Oshane Ximines, and now CB Corey Ballentine and you can see why this unit has struggled facing top offenses this year.
But this is what the Giants want: develop the young talent to set a foundation for next season and the foreseeable future. Rome wasn't built in a day, and GM Dave Gettleman and the rest of the front office realizes there is a process to this.
However, there has been one rookie sort of left out in while most youngsters get reps for the future. Julian Love was a fourth-round draft pick by the Giants this year -- the second of three corners taken by Gettleman. He came out as a versatile piece that had time both in the slot and outside over his solid college career at Notre Dame.
The Giants, though, have been giving him practice reps at safety now, noticing Ballentine is more fit for the slot and Baker -- despite big struggles this season -- is fit for the outside. Sam Beal is also back and should be getting more reps on the outside as well.
In turn, Love has only seen three total defensive snaps this season, but he's always ready for his next opportunity.
"I just want to hit the ground running as soon as I get my opportunity," he told The Post's Ryan Dunleavy. "I want to be the dependable guy the team needs. Selfishly, I think all of us want to be that guy who helps turn this thing around for us."
Coming off the bye, the Giants are 2-8 with playoff hopes virtually out of the way. They have a tough schedule going forward, too, with the Bears this week followed by the Packers and Eagles for the first time this season.
So, if the priority is for the rookies to continue developing, Love should see his next opportunity at safety in place of Antoine Bethea.
The 35-year-old Bethea isn't a part of the Giants' future, as the team could part ways with him after the season. He signed a two-year, $6.5 million deal with a club option for the 2020 season. And he hasn't been playing well enough to make his absence a total loss on defense.
Love has been making many more special teams snaps recently, and his teammates have seen the work he puts in to prepare for the time he might get with the 11 men on defense each week.
"He just has to trust himself," Jabrill Peppers said. "He is a hell of an athlete. He knows how to make plays on the ball. He is a great tackler. He can't let the rookie jitters get to him. When his opportunity comes, he can't let his emotions get the best of him."
It should come this week and the weeks after, with Love potentially being the man that could stand next to Peppers at safety for years to come. That would be the most ideal scenario, but the Giants should start that process sooner rather than later.