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Rookie Film Edition: Ridgeway Claimed Off of Waivers | Washington Commanders

Updated: May 11, 2023

By Adam Aniba

After signing undrafted free agent DT Donovan Jeter, Washington made another move by signing John Ridegway and releasing Jeter after one game. It came as a surprise to some that the former 5th round Arkansas defensive lineman was released by Dallas, after the Cowboys promoted QB Cooper Rush to the active roster,

Washington wasn't the only team that had a waiver request for Ridgeway per reports, but he'll have an opportunity to get valuable reps in the Commander's' rotation. Although RIdgeway played NT in an odd man front for most of his football career, his ability as a pocket pusher can't be understated.

John Ridgeway

6'3" 325 | DT | Arkansas

Illinois St (30 games) 102 tak (51 solo), 3.0 TFL, 3 QB hurries, 1 PBU, 1 int, 1 FF & 1 FR

Career ARK (11 games) 39 tak (11 solo), 4.0 TFL & 2 sacks

2021 ARK Fall Season (11 games) 39 tak (11 solo), 4.0 TFL & 2 sacks


Ridgeway was a standout interior lineman during his time at Bloomington HS. In addition, Ridgeway was an All-State Defensive Line selection and won the Illinois State Wrestling Championship Title in 2017.

During his 2nd season (redshirted 1st season) Ridgeway recorded 30 tackles (9 solo), 1 sack and 2.0 TFLs and returned a fumble 32 yards in the season finale against Youngstown State.

During the '21 Spring season for Illinois State, Ridgeway was named All-MVFC First-Team selection at noseguard, leading the team in tackles.

To the surprise of some in the program, Ridgeway elected to enter the transfer portal after the '21 spring season. The DT received offers from Indiana, Texas, PSU, Iowa St, Arizona St, Tennessee, Michigan, USC and Arkansas, Ridgeway ultimately committed to play for Arkansas.

As a Redshirt Senior in '21, Ridgeway started 11 of 12 games. In his first game action as a Razorback, the defensive tackle recorded 6 tackles and 1 sack. After only one season, the Arkansas DT elected to declare for the '22 NFL Draft and was selected at #178 in the 5th round by the Dallas Cowboys.


  • Impressive overall size and length (33 3/8") led to multiple tipped passes

  • Solid motor that runs hot

  • Scrappy and wrestling background shows up on film

  • Strong hands (10" hands) with solid punch, that allows him to to disengage effectively

  • Effective in run support

  • High football IQ particular with run/pass recognition


  • Lack of counter moves rushing the passer, will require refinement

  • Too often relies on brute strength, rather than technique

  • Most of career spent playing in a 3-4, will be an adjustment period transitioning to an even front

  • Not built for extended snaps and rotational role might be his ceiling

  • Limited overall athleticism

  • Lacks pursuit speed and can be a liability when pursuing the ball outside of the pocket


With Mathis done for the season, Jonathan Allen playing through a groin strain and now Daniel Wise could miss significant time due to an ankle injury, Ridgeway will certainly get snaps this week.

Washington will likely continue to add more free agents on both sides of the ball. After the release of Settle and Ioannidis, Jack Del Rio finds himself in a hole in regards to defensive line depth.

Many fans have clamoured for the team to add a veteran such as Ndamukong Suh, but for now, we'll have to hope that the former Arkansas interior lineman can make an early impact on a struggling defense.

*GAMES WATCHED- 3/6/21 vs UNI, 3/13/21 vs N.Dakota St, 9/11/21 vs TEX, 10/2 UGA, 10/9 vs Ole MIss, 10/16 vs AUB, 11/13 vs LSU & 11/20 vs Alabama

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