Giants may have found a defensive line gem in the 7th round

NFL: New York Giants at Detroit Lions
David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

The recent excitement around the New York Giants revolves heavily around one standout rookie—6th-round cornerback Tre Hawkins. However, 7th-round defensive tackle Jordon Riley is slowly starting to garner some attention.

Tre Hawkins: A Rookie Cornerback with Potential

All eyes have been on the 6th-round rookie cornerback Tre Hawkins, who showcased his abilities during training camp and the Week 1 loss to the Detroit Lions to kick off the preseason. Possessing tangible traits that can mold him into a quality NFL player, Hawkins still needs more experience against top-tier talent to further hone his skills.

Jordon Riley: The Silent Builder

While Hawkins is making headlines, 7th-round rookie Jordon Riley has been quietly elevating his game. The Oregon product, who initially received a grade indicating a bottom-of-roster or practice squad position, made his presence felt in Friday’s game against Detroit. With a frame of 6-foot-5, 338 pounds, this defensive tackle has more to offer than what many originally anticipated.

Addressing the Giants’ Defensive Weaknesses

The Giants struggled with defensive depth in 2022, especially when it came to stopping the run without star DT Dexter Lawrence on the field. This led the team to invest substantially in fortifying the defensive unit by signing Rakeem Nunez-Roches and A’Shawn Robinson.

However, Riley’s performance has been commendable, and his strength at the point of attack didn’t go unnoticed. Brian Baldinger of the NFL Network praised Riley during a breakdown, stating, “This kid can anchor. He can hold his ground … You’ve got to love what you’re seeing from this Jordon Riley. The Giants need this badly… Jordon Riley — keep your eye on him.”

The Role of Jordon Riley: A Developmental Asset

Riley’s main drawbacks were related to his experience and production. Nonetheless, he has the physical tools to thrive in the NFL, potentially as a reliable reserve run-stopper. As a 7th-round pick, he offers more than expected by being able to absorb double teams and contact. This can create opportunities for linebackers at the second level and allow him to disrupt running backs seeking to exploit lanes.

His size is currently the most captivating aspect of his skill set, but his early developmental progress is promising. The Giants may view this as an opportunity for growth, and Riley’s evolution could be a fascinating storyline to follow as the season progresses.

By highlighting these emerging talents, the New York Giants are providing glimpses into the potential future of their defensive core. Whether it’s the promise of Hawkins or the steady growth of Riley, the Giants’ fanbase has reason to be optimistic about the coming season.

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