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'Vanilla Gorilla' Grabbed by Cowboys in Fifth for Some Depth

Jerry and Stephen Jones may be as intrigued by big John Ridgeway as Sam Pittman was

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — It's understandable to be intrigued with former Arkansas defensive tackle John Ridgeway.

His size (6-foot-6, 320 pounds) and a wrestling background is intriguing. Don't look at his stats, though.

They don't tell his entire story. He can tie up two or three defenders on a regular basis because that comes into play on every snap, which lets other defenders make plays.

Film of him taking on three Alabama offensive linemen, shedding them and helping on the tackle raised eyebrows across the league.

He then dominated at the Senior Bowl. Scouts and coaches saw all they needed when he drove a Tennessee lineman back 10+ yards into a crowd of coaches looking on so fast it wouldn't have been far off his 40 time speed.

Tom Murphy of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette talked about the Cowboys' selection on The Morning Rush with Tye Richardson and Tommy Craft.

John Ridgeway-Pro Day

Apparently Jerry and Stephen Jones saw that and figured they'd look at it for the Dallas Cowboys in workouts and camps. They took Ridgeway in the fifth round the NFL Draft on Saturday with the 178th pick late using a compensatory pick.

He might actually have a pretty good shot at developing into someone that could provide an added wrinkle to the Cowboys' defense inside.

It's certainly intriguing.

Ridgeway brings the ability to be a strong run-stopper and requires attention from multiple offensive linemen.

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John Ridgeway

If he wants to be a regular starter and land a big second contract, he will need to develop an explosive step into the gap that allows him to bull his way back to the quarterback.

The massive defensive lineman spent his first four years at Illinois St. before coming to Arkansas to prove he can compete at the SEC level.

Scouts were impressed that he played both offense and defense before coming to Arkansas and has a background in wrestling.


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