For so long Dallas Cowboys fans everywhere lamented how the team never paid too much mind to the defensive tackle position. To be blunt, the organization basically ignored it. That all changed this offseason, though. As an organization the Cowboys made it a point to beef up the middle of their defensive front as they signed both Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe and then were able to land Neville Gallimore in the third round of the draft.
We have come a long way from Tyrone Crawfrod being thought of as a potential future option in the heart of the defensive line, but was this offseason really when the Cowboys decided to spend more resources on it? Their first draft selection last year was a defensive tackle after all.
Trysten Hill is going to need a big training camp to earn playing time
Yes, it is true that the Cowboys drafted a defensive tackle with their first selection last year. They took Central Florida’s Trysten Hill with their second-round pick, and that was right about the peak of the draft choice.
Hill struggled mightily throughout his rookie season and was so underwhelming that he was a healthy scratch more often than he wasn’t throughout his first year in the NFL. In naming 10 players that will need big training camps to earn more playing time PFF slotted him in as their second selection.
When the Dallas Cowboys drafted Trysten Hill in the second round of last year’s draft, it was a significant head-scratcher, and few people were as high on Hill as a prospect as I was. He was an extremely raw talent who flashed big-time potential rather than consistently displayed it in college, where he had back-to-back seasons with a 78.7 PFF grade but never really threatened an elite mark.
Hill was drafted for the future but, as they say, the future is now. In his rookie season, he played just 121 snaps and had a grade in the 50.0s, notching just three pressures on 66 rushes, but he was never expected to be a force right away. His problem is that the Cowboys didn’t sit around and just assume he would be great in Year 2, and he now needs to prove he is worth an expanded role against some pretty significant competition.
Gerald McCoy was added in free agency, but he should nearly replace Maliek Collins in role and snaps, while Dontari Poe and Antwaun Woods are more recognized nose tackles. But the team also got a steal in Neville Gallimore in the third round of this year’s draft. Hill needs to show he can earn playing time over a player like Gallimore, who PFF would have more confidence in as a prospect coming out of college.
While Trysten Hill was a second-round pick, the shine of it has really worn off. With so many noteworthy players ahead of him on the depth chart he is going to have to really work in order just to find snaps let alone enough to make a consistent contribution to the overall cause.
For what it’s worth, the Cowboys should be heralded for not simply relying on Hill to be better during his second season as doing so would be a tad irresponsible. The pick is well in the rearview mirror so if the Cowboys can acknowledge that it wasn’t the best one, good on them.
However training camp ultimately happens, it is going to be big for a few members of the Cowboys. Trysten Hill’s name is at the top of that list while it’s currently near the bottom of the depth chart.