Sometimes you stumble on a guy late in the draft that just comes right in and plays lights out without missing a beat.
Such could be said about defensive lineman Jordan Riley, a well-traveled 25-year-old rookie the New York Giants selected with the 243rd overall selection in this year’s NFL draft.
It's not typical to see a 7th-round pick work into the rotation Year 1, but #Giants Jordon Riley might be an outlier.
He's had a stready drumbeat through joint practices and making this kind of individual play on a 4th&1 stop is only going to steady that beat louder. pic.twitter.com/wZUdpayqoh
— Dan Schneier (@DanSchneierNFL) August 19, 2023
Riley has played extensively in the preseason and he has played well. Noted for his strong play against the run, Riley has also shown that he can get into the backfield, push the pocket and get to the quarterback.
Jordon Riley is having an awesome preseason for the Giants pic.twitter.com/KB4m85Qy1i
— Bobby Skinner (@BobbySkinner_) August 19, 2023
Giants assistant general manager Brandon Brown didn’t take the credit for unearthing the gem that is Riley at his media session on Monday, but told the story behind how the 6-foot-5, 325-pounder out of Oregon became a Giant.
“I can’t mention Jordon Riley without mentioning Dennis Hickey and Tim McDonnell (the Giants’ directors of player personnel). They were driving forces in terms of the process of Jordon,” Brown said.
“I remember going back to my notes; Jordon’s not on anybody’s radar. It’s October, Dennis Hickey goes out to Oregon and sees him and is like, ‘B, listen, I’m just telling you this guy has traits that we want to play with knockback, we want to be big up front, want to control the line of scrimmage, he fits our brand of ball.’ Tim tells me, ‘B, we need to go see him play.’ So, Tim and I went and saw him play against Cal. Tim’s been the ultimate checks and balances for me, someone that I have blind trust in where he says, ‘We need to go watch this guy, and we come apart from it, you can walk out to warmups, and he sticks out like a sore thumb.'”
Riley’s teammate, linebacker Azeez Ojulari — a third-year player who is actually two years younger than Riley — had this to say on Monday.
“He’s coming in head down working every day, focused, locked in. You’ve got big Dex (defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence II), (defensive lineman) Leo(nard Williams) in there grinding, helping him out, Nacho (defensive lineman Rakeem Nuñez-Roches), (defensive lineman) A’Shawn (Robinson), they’re all working on him. He’s pushing them every day and he’s just improving every day, going hard and getting better.”
The Giants, after years of Day 3 failures at the draft, are finally getting some hits.
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