Pros and cons of the Dallas Cowboys picking Arkansas' John Ridgeway in 2022 NFL Draft

Arkansas football defensive lineman John Ridgeway was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the fifth round, No. 178 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Ridgeway played one season for the Razorbacks after transferring from Illinois State. He had 39 tackles, four tackles for loss and two sacks while getting the majority of his playing time at nose tackle.

He was a two-star offensive line prospect out of Bloomington High School in Illinois and had no FBS offers. At Illinois State, he changed positions and quickly became one of the team's best defensive tackles before transferring to the SEC.

Here's what the Cowboys can expect from their newest defensive lineman.

The positives

Ridgeway stands out because of his size. At 6-foot-5, 321 pounds, Ridgeway was one of the largest defensive linemen at the NFL combine. He turned heads at the Senior Bowl, too, for being so difficult to block.

NFL NextGen Stats grade him at 6.10, which it considers on par with a good reserve player who could work into a starting role.

The concerns

Ridgeway is big and surprisingly athletic for his size, but draft experts show concerns about a lack of polish in his technique. He's a strong run-blocker, but his pass-rushing ability will need improvement in the NFL.

Final thoughts

Ridgeway needs his new team to invest in developing him at tackle or end and helping turn his raw traits into NFL-caliber play. He has the size to compete with NFL offensive linemen, but he'll need better technique to go with it if he's going to work into that possible starting role.

Christina Long covers the Arkansas Razorbacks. You can email her at or follow her on Twitter @christinalong00.

This article originally appeared on Fort Smith Times Record: Dallas Cowboys pick Arkansas' John Ridgeway in 2022 NFL draft