Round No. 5
John Ridgeway – Interior Defensive Linemen
- Arkansas, Pick No. 178 overall
The Cowboys didn’t have much use for Ridgeway this season with Osa Odighizuwa, Quinton Bohanna, Carlos Watkins, Neville Gallimore, and eventually Johnathan Hankins, all battling for playing time.
Drafted for his run-stuffing and gap-filling attributes, Ridgeway didn’t see any action in Week 1, and was swiftly waived. He quickly signed with the Commanders, and posted 24 tackles, one forced fumble, and 18 run stops in 15 appearances for Dallas’ divisional rival.
Damone Clark – Linebacker
- LSU, Pick No. 176 overall
It’s incredible Clark even contributed for the Cowboys as a rookie. Coming off fusion surgery that was expected to shelve him the entire season, Clark defied the odds and was activated in time for Week 8 against the Bears.
When all was said and done, Clark played 59 percent of the snaps and was Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded linebacker from the 2022 class. He took his lumps in coverage, but there’s a reason so many Cowboys talking heads and fans are high on Clark’s future with the team.
DaRon Bland – Cornerback
One of the best value picks from any team, Bland flourished after season-ending injuries to Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown forced him into a big role.
The 6-foot-2 defender compiled 57 tackles, seven passes defended, and five interceptions, which ranked second in the entire NFL.
Only Justin Simmons, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, and fellow rookie Tariq Woolen had more interceptions than Bland. He’s a building block for Dan Quinn and jumped to the second round (No. 60 overall) in ESPN’s re-drafting of the first two rounds of the 2022 draft.
Matt Waletzko – Offensive Tackle
- North Dakota, Pick No. 155 overall
Waletzko’s rookie year never got off the ground. He was drafted with an injured shoulder suffered as a senior at North Dakota. He aggravated the injury early in training camp, and missed most of camp. Fast forward to October, and Waletzko suffered another subluxation of his shoulder and landed on injured reserve.