Could Cowboys Trysten Hill be a surprise roster cut? Consider these factors before you decide

Dan Rogers
Cowboys defensive tackle, Trysten Hill@CowboysNationDAL / Twitter

The Dallas Cowboys didn't have a first-round pick in 2019 because they shipped that off to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for Amari Cooper. There are certainly no regrets there. But that meant that the team had to wait unitl pick 58 before they could select their first collegiate prospect that year, putting an awful lot of pressure on the front office to get it right. And while it's still early, most would say the Cowboys did not get it right with the selection of Central Florida's Trysten Hill.

It should be noted that any admiration for Hill was first met with the sheer disappointment of the team passing on many of the quality safety options who were still on the board at the time. Looking past that part, the pick still wasn't all that favorable because it felt like a reach. The Cowboys needed defensive tackle help, and Hill was in fact a defensive tackle, and as we quickly learned was the team's favorite choice at the position. It wasn't that Hill wasn't a good player, but was he good enough to be taken 58th overall?

The lack of excitement for Hill as a player was plentiful. He entered the draft after setting some bridges on fire over at UCF as he was not held in a very good light with the coaching staff. Despite being the team's most disruptive defensive player, he only made one start in the 12 games he played during his final college season. Questions about his character lingered, but it didn't stop Dallas from rolling the dice.

As a player, Hill had a lot of intriguing traits to where you could understand why the Cowboys were interested in him. He has explosive get-off, which is one of the most essential qualities of a Rod Marinelli defensive lineman. Hill uses his hands extremely well, enabling him to maneuver around blockers. He brings a lot of energy and exhibits the kind of hustle you love to see from a guy that size. All these things together offered the team a high-upside player at a huge position of need.

Unfortunately, none of those skills presented themselves his rookie season as Hill struggled to see the field. Draft stock aside, he was nothing more than a depth player to the point where he was actually declared inactive for nine games. That is not good. Seeing a second-round pick being made a healthy scratch that many times will definitely make fans stop and question the team's decisions.

But last season proved to be a different story. Despite his biggest advocate, Rod Marinelli, no longer being a part of the coaching staff, Hill found a new fan in new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. In fact, after the team lost veteran Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy during training camp, opportunities opened up for the second-year youngster. Not only was he made active, but he was now the team's starting 3-tech defensive tackle. How the tables had turned.

Just as things were starting to click for Hill, a knee injury ended his season. While he never got a sack and only made one tackle for a loss, he was starting to show some real improvement so it was unfortunate to catch such a tough break that derailed his progress.

Looking ahead to this season, it's really hard to know what to expect from Hill. The competition at the 3-tech position is a little tougher now as it consists of a more experienced Neville Gallimore. It also features this year's third-round draft pick Osa Odighizuma, who just so happens to be the first defensive tackle selection of new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. How will Hill compare to these other guys? How will his rehab affect his ability to impress his new coach? And when he does get back on the field, just how good is he going to be at learning a new scheme?

Hill has potential, but there are a lot of things that worry me about his ability to pull this off. His maturity and past history of poor work ethic shouldn't be ignored. Remember, this is a player who got sent home for arriving late to meetings and fell asleep while NBA legend Isiah Thomas was talking to the team. He also received two fines for a couple of unsportsmanlike penalties last season.

There is still a lot this young defensive tackle needs to clean up to be a legit force, so it won't be any easy task. Hill sometimes plays a bit out of control and doesn't have a feel for his blocks. It's going to take his best version of himself to work through these issues. He's got two cheap years left on his rookie deal, so all things point to him sticking around, but he's going to have to earn it. The Cowboys have a lot of good pieces they'd love to hang on to and there are going to be some difficult roster decisions for them come September.

Comments / 0

Published by

Bringing you Cowboys insight with a little humor mixed in. Life is short. Be fun.

Albany, OR

More from Dan Rogers

Comments / 0