LAS VEGAS (Silver Star Nation) — You know Dallas Cowboys Owner and General Manager Jerry Jones was grinning from ear to ear when he turned in this draft card.
Dallas selected Arkansas nose tackle John Ridgeway with pick 178 of the 2022 NFL Draft, closing out Dallas’ four picks in Round 5.
The Cowboys’ other selections in the fifth round included:
- Round 5, Pick 155 — Matt Waletzko, OT, North Dakota
- Round 5, Pick 167 — DaRon Bland, CB, Fresno State
- Round 5, Pick 176 — Damone Clark, LB, LSU
Jones, a former Razorback himself, has turned in over 300 draft cards since he became the owner of the team, and Ridgeway is only the second Arkansas product the Cowboys have drafted in that time.
Ridgeway began his football career as an offensive lineman, only transitioning to the defensive side of the ball when he entered college at FCS Illinois State.
He played for four years with the Redbirds before transferring to FBS-level Arkansas.
Ridgeway is 6-foot-5 and 321 pounds, a tall and long tackler with a brawny frame. He’s another big one, and he knows how to handle a double team.
Ridgeway has a background in wrestling, so his hands are powerful and useful. He’s able to steer his blocker whichever way he wants to. He has sound technique and fundamentals and won’t try to be a hero.
Durability and injury isn’t really a concern with Ridgeway. He missed only one game in four years of college football, and that was for an appendectomy.
Ridgeway would fit best as a one-technique, run defending nose tackle, which fits perfectly in the Cowboys’ defensive scheme. He won’t be an every-down starter, but he’ll be a key role player on first and second down.
He’s strong, he’s smart, he knows how to play sound football, and he has the power to stand up to double teams and two-gaps. The Cowboys got yet another fifth round steal in Ridgeway.