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Can Jordon Riley be more than a space-filler for New York Giants?

Riley’s college profile is unimpressive

NCAA Football: Oregon at Arizona
Jordon Riley
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants reached the seventh round of the 2023 draft without having made a single addition to their defensive front seven. In that round, they finally selected defensive tackle Jordon Riley, who was widely predicted to go undrafted. Riley has a shot to make the roster, but can he earn that spot?

By the numbers

Height: 6-foot-5
Weight: 325
Age: 25
Position: Defensive line
Experience: Rookie
Contract: Four-year, $3,923,032 million deal | Guaranteed at signing: $83,032 | 2023 cap hit: $770,758

Career to date

Riley cycled through four different colleges throughout his career. He began at North Carolina in 2017, where he played two games and had six total tackles. He redshirted his 2018 year, then transferred to Garden City Community College in 2019. He resurfaced in the FBS in 2020 with Nebraska, where he played four games and made seven total tackles with one for loss.

Riley then transferred to Oregon for the 2022 season and finally got a chance to start each game. In 13 games, he had 21 total tackles, 1.5 for loss, 0.5 sacks, and one pass defensed. He had a 56.8 Pro Football Focus grade, including 55.4 in run defense and 58.0 as a pass rusher.

Riley declared for the NFL Draft and was selected by the Giants with the 243rd pick.

2023 outlook

The Giants brought in Rakeem Nunez-Roches and A’Shawn Robinson to complement Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams along the defensive line. The first question is whether they will even carry a fifth player there. If so, Riley will be competing primarily with D.J. Davidson, who is coming off a torn ACL, and second-year defensive tackle Ryder Anderson.

Riley did not show much in college despite being an older player (he turned 25 shortly after the draft). As a big body, Riley was likely brought in for run defense, but he just didn’t produce in that area. While numbers alone sometimes do not tell the full story for an interior defensive lineman, Riley’s status as the 567th prospect on the consensus big board was due to his lack of production on film. Furthermore, his 2.80 RAS demonstrates that he doesn’t bring much more to the table than just his size.

Riley could still make the team if the Giants want more depth. Still, it’s possible that the practice squad will be his destination.