Giants rookie DL turned in stellar run-defense performance in Week 1

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 were demolished in Week 1, getting stomped 40–0 by the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night. The Cowboys ran all over the Giants’ defense as they played with a lead and cruised to victory. Despite New York’s struggles against the run, rookie seventh-round pick DL Jordon Riley managed to turn in a stellar performance. The summer standout made some solid plays in run defense, earning high marks from Pro Football Focus and proving to the coaching staff that he deserves more playing time this season.

The Giants struggled to defend the run in Week 1

Despite Dallas’ demolition of the Giants on Sunday night, Riley managed to demonstrate his run-stuffing abilities against the Cowboys’ offensive line. The Cowboys seldom threw the football against Big Blue as they aimed to maintain the massive lead they earned from the start of the game.

Dallas kept the ball primarily on the ground, attempting 30 rushes for 122 yards and three touchdowns. Not exactly the best performance from New York’s defense, however, they were trapped playing from behind after a disastrous start to the game.

Riley, a 6-foot-5, 338-pound defensive tackle, received plenty of playing time in the blowout loss, aiding the Giants’ defense in slowing down Dallas’ rushing attack. He was not on the field much, but considering his high quality of play and the defense’s low-quality performance, maybe the rookie should have received more playing time.

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Jordon Riley earns high marks from Pro Football Focus

Riley’s stellar performance caught the attention of Pro Football Focus. The Giants rookie earned a 74.2 overall PFF grade, the 13th-highest grade of any rookie in the NFL.

The Cowboys held a commanding lead over the Giants for most of the game, which didn’t lead to many pass-rushing snaps for Riley, but he did show off his ability as a run-stuffer. In his 12 snaps vs. the run, the seventh-round pick managed a perfect 0.0% negatively-graded play percentage and came away with a tackle for loss.

Mason Cameron of Pro Football Focus

Riley may not have stuffed the stat sheet in his limited playing time, but he did manage to record a tackle for loss and did well to plug holes and disrupt Dallas’ rushing attack.

Riley can build off of his Week 1 performance. Despite the team’s embarrassing defeat, Riley put some good snaps on tape, which should help him earn more playing time in the near future. Riley could soon become a key component of the Giants’ run defense if he continues to display his talents as a run-stuffing defensive tackle.