Why is John Ridgeway a “Unique Choice” for Dallas?

FRISCO, TX – John Ridgeway referred to as. A type of.

Final October, after the College of Arkansas ended a nine-game shedding streak towards Texas A&M at AT&T Stadium, Ridgeway briefly obtained collectively on the sector with Cowboys proprietor/common supervisor Jerry Jones, and the Razorbacks’ premier alumnus joined the staff. Offered the Southwest Basic trophy.

“It was fairly cool,” Ridgeway mentioned. “I mentioned to him proper there, ‘You need to draft me. Watch and I am going to take over the Dallas Cowboys.’

“He checked out me and smiled and mentioned ‘Woo Pig’.”

Six months later, the 23-year-old defensive sort out is definitely a Cowboy, drafted with the 178th general choose within the fifth spherical.

The truth is, the Arkansas connection means nearly nothing to the Cowboys’ enlistment course of. Ridgeway is the second Arkansas participant to be drafted by Dallas. The primary to surpass Felix Jones got here in 2008 – nearly 20 years after Jones purchased the franchise.

The largest motive he selected Ridgeway was not the college he attended. Measurements within the college biography:

Trying to bolster their operating defenses, the Cowboys have turned to bigger defensive inside gamers within the final two drafts. Final 12 months’s sixth-round choose Quinton Bohanna (6-4, 327) performed about 20% of the snaps as a rookie, making 12 tackles and a press. Ridgeway will even have the chance to compete for a spot within the early exits.

In 2020, the Cowboys allowed the second-fastest dash in staff historical past (2,541). Final 12 months, there was a noticeable enchancment below new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. Protection

He completed sixteenth towards the run, gave up 1,918 yards, and jumped from twenty eighth to seventh in factors allowed per recreation (21.1).

However his closing look of the 2021 season was a first-round playoff loss to San Francisco, the place the 49ers took the second-fastest yards towards Dallas all season (169).

Working protection remains to be a spotlight this season, and maybe Ridgeway might emerge as a part of the answer.

“In comparison with how we select most years with the Dallas Cowboys, it is a distinctive alternative for us,” Jones mentioned instantly after the draft. “We often have smaller measurement and extra quickness. Bohanna has that, however in fact she’s tall with the physique.

“I am actually good (on the choice) as a result of with our protection towards the operating recreation, I held my breath to all the time be the massive boy there. That is an actual assertion on my thoughts with Dan and[the coach]. We’re positive we will have Mike (McCarthy) within the playoffs. on the way to deal with the operating recreation after we enter.

“Mike was sitting there all day, ‘Playoffs, playoffs. Keep in mind playoffs.’ It is actually not only a nice alternative, however a terrific competitor.”

Ridgeway performed 141 balls in 42 profession faculty video games at Arkansas and Illinois State (for 12 losses). He transferred to Arkansas as a redshirt in 2021 and began 11 video games as a fixture on the defensive entrance.

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