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Draft Central | 2022

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Clark, Ridgeway Highlight Four 5th-Round Picks 


FRISCO, Texas – Breaking down all four Cowboys fifth-round draft picks on Saturday:

  • Name: Matt Waletzko (No. 155 overall)
  • Position: Offensive Tackle
  • College: North Dakota
  • Height/Weight: 6-7/310

The Rundown: Waletzko started 28 games in four seasons at North Dakota, including 10 last season. The Fighting Hawks gave up only three sacks during his time with the program, according to his official school bio. Waletzko is the second offensive lineman drafted by Dallas this week, joining first-round pick Tyler Smith, who's expected to compete for the left guard job as a rookie. Waletzko showed good lateral quickness for his size in college, and he'll likely have a chance to compete for the backup tackle spot behind eight-time Pro Bowler Tyron Smith and projected starting right tackle Terence Steele. Last year's fourth-round pick Josh Ball is expected to work at right tackle and Smith will take some backup left tackle reps in addition to left guard.

  • Name: DaRon Bland (No. 167 overall)
  • Position: Cornerback
  • College: Fresno State
  • Height/Weight: 6-0 / 197

The Rundown: Bland seems to fit the mold of big, rangy cornerbacks with great ball skills. That's the type Dan Quinn has tried to acquire since taking over as the defensive coordinator and Bland looks to fit the part. He played just one year at Fresno State after a season at Sacramento State. Bland has collegiate track experience in the long jump and 60 meters, proving that he brings serious athleticism to the table. His 4.46 time at his Pro Day helped his cause, especially since he wasn't invited to the combine. He'll likely step in and compete with young cornerbacks Nahshon Wright and Kelvin Joseph right away.

  • Name: Damone Clark (No. 176 overall)
  • Position: Linebacker
  • College: LSU
  • Height/Weight: 6-2/239

The Rundown: For the second straight year, the Cowboys drafted a former LSU linebacker with upside. Last year it was Jabril Cox, who's expected to compete for extensive snaps after undergoing ACL surgery last fall. Now Clark will have a chance, eventually, to earn a role once he's healthy. He reportedly underwent spinal fusion surgery in March to repair a herniated disk. Although his timetable in 2022 is uncertain, the Cowboys clearly like his long-term prospects. He was a Dick Butkus Award finalist last year after leading the SEC with 135 tackles, the fourth-highest single-season total in LSU history.

  • Name: John Ridgeway (No. 178 overall)
  • Position: Defensive Tackle
  • College: Arkansas
  • Height/Weight: 6-5/321

The Rundown: Ridgeway becomes the second player from Arkansas drafted by the Cowboys since Jerry Jones bought the team in 1989. He's a big-bodied athlete that takes up space in the middle of the field. Ridgeway played three years at Illinois State before transferring to Arkansas for one season. He had two sacks and four tackles for loss – all career highs in his one season in the SEC. He'll likely replace the role the Cowboys had for Brent Urban, who missed most of last year with an injury and has not re-signed in free agency.

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