Giants may have a steal in late-round rookie DL

New York Giants defensive tackle Jordon Riley (95) participates in drills during training camp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Facility
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants entered the 2023 offseason with thin depth on the defensive line. General manager Joe Schoen made it a point of emphasis to address this need, signing veteran linemen Rakeem Nunez-Roches and A’Shawn Robinson. But one other defensive line addition seems to have flown under the radar amidst New York’s busy offseason.

In the seventh round of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Giants selected Oregon DT Jordon Riley. Though not many were familiar with Riley prior to the draft, the rookie run-stuffer is making sure his name is known now. NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger is touting Riley as a “good looking prospect” following an impressive week in Detroit.

Brian Baldinger praises Giants rookie DT Jordon Riley

Following Big Blue’s preseason opener against the Detroit Lions, Baldinger took to X to break down the film on Riley, giving the rookie praise for his performance in the game. “Jordon Riley played a lot last night doing lots of dirty work in the ‘A-Gap,'” Baldinger posted. “Lots of good tape; Lots to learn but is a good looking prospect.”

This was not the first time Baldinger praised Riley. Earlier this week, Baldinger posted about Riley’s “strength and power.” Baldinger said he thought Riley “showed up in scrimmages this week” as the Giants held joint practices with the Lions.

Jordon Riley stands out in preseason debut

Despite his team’s loss in the first preseason game, Riley stood out for Big Blue’s defense. He only finished the game with one tackle, but, as Baldinger described, Riley made plenty of impactful plays in the running game, filling gaps for his teammates to get after the ball carriers.

Can Jordon Riley make an impact as a rookie?

Riley, a 6-foot-5, 338-pound tackle, looked athletic for his size during Friday night’s exhibition game. Not much is known about the rookie as he played took just 534 snaps in the FBS, per PFF. But New York elected to take a chance on him, hoping his mass and length could be developed into run-stuffing prowess.

“Riley is a rotational nose tackle with a proportional frame carrying good thickness. He’s capable of battling against double teams and absorbing contact, but he needs to improve his technique and work on taking control of the action. He’s primarily a block-eater and is unlikely to make many plays, but his size will be appealing.”

Lance Zierlein’s Draft Profile of Jordon Riley via NFL.com

He may be inexperienced, but Riley’s impressive preseason debut is something that the coaching staff can build off. As the Oregon rookie continues to develop, he may be able to earn playing time as a rotational run-stuffer, helping out in heavy defensive packages. Stopping the run was a major weakness for the Giants in 2022, and Riley could help the team improve in that regard this season.