Luck has certainly not been a friend of Cowboys defensive tackle Trysten Hill. The ‘Boys had high hopes for his trajectory after taking him with their second-round choice in 2019, but he was largely relegated to a bench role after falling behind a number of vets on the defensive depth chart. Players like Antwaun Woods and Tyrone Crawford chewed up tremendous space on the interior while Hill sat dormant on the sidelines during his rookie year.
He trekked his way through that rocky 2019 campaign, appearing in just seven contests and recording five combined tackles as he sputtered in Rod Marinelli’s 4-3 defense. And speaking of Marinelli, Hill became Dallas’ first selection that year (they traded their first-rounder to the Raiders in the Amari Cooper deal) largely due to the urges of their longtime former defensive coordinator.
On paper, Hill was the quintessential three-technique interior presence that could create worlds of havoc for opposing linemen. He flashed all of the necessary tools at the University of Central Florida that reeked of an immediate impact at the next level: strength, aggressiveness, an imposing size and a sneaky speed.
But his minute instances of NFL game tape revealed holes that needed to be briskly sealed shut if he was ever going to sustain success in the pros: shaky hand technique, improper pad levels, and mental immaturity (as evidenced by consecutive fines that totaled over $13,000 for late hits against the Seahawks in Week 3, plus some poor meeting/practice habits).
Still, Hill remained diligent despite the hiccups, and found ample room to showcase his talents in Mike Nolan’s revamped regime in his sophomore year. He started the first five matchups of the season, registering 11 combined tackles (six solo) including one for a loss. Injury, though, came crashing down on him like a tidal wave and Hill was forced to return to bench-warming duties after suffering a torn ACL in a Week 5 conference matchup against the Giants.
This year, Hill’s rehab is reportedly going swell as the ‘Boys continue their preseason work. He’s brisk in his cuts, decisive in power moves, technically sound. But he’s caught in the shuffle of a number of battle-scarred vets, and a host of young newcomers itching for the same position that he wants.
And right now, things could be shaky for him.
According to John Owning of the Dallas Morning News, the 10 D-linemen he projects to make the final 53-man roster are as follows: DeMarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory, Osa Odighizuwa, Neville Gallimore, Brent Urban, Chauncey Golston, Quinton Bohanna, Tarrel Basham, Dorance Armstrong and Bradlee Anae.
No Hill in the mix. He no longer has Rod Marinelli here to push for him, and the Cowboys have changed the head coach and defensive coordinator (twice) since he was drafted. Perhaps even more ominous is the fact they went out and drafted two defensive tackles in 2021, and a defensive end that can kick inside if needed. They also added two defensive lineman in free agency who can play the interior.
No final decisions have been made up to this point, but unless Hill proves that he’s head and shoulders above any of the aforementioned names, his time at the Star could soon be coming to an end.
What are your thoughts? Will Hill make the 53-man roster?
Will Trysten Hill make the Cowboys 53-man roster in 2021?
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