You would be hard pressed to find a position group on the Dallas Cowboys that has every part of the NFL career arc like defensive tackle. Funny enough we are talking about a position in which the team does not exactly invest a ton of resources. Recently the Cowboys have used some Day 2 picks on the position, and to their credit they have found some productive players from late picks or cheap free agents.
Back to the state of the group this year. While there are a ton of players vying for opportunities in the middle of Dan Quinn’s defensive line, there are only a finite number of roster spots to be had. Obviously some players are safer than others thanks to where different ones are at in their respective careers.
While, as noted, there are plenty of interior options today, we are focusing on a handful and looking at the stages in their career that this upcoming training camp offers them.
Year 1: John Ridgeway
It has been very interesting trying to figure out who the rookie that most Dallas Cowboys fans are excited to see is.
John Ridgeway is a tough and formidable player that can navigate the middle of the defensive line, and those are the types of players that hardcore fans tend to love. It is no secret that this group was in dramatic need of some attitude based on how last season ended. Ridgeway is chock full of it.
Truth be told, the opportunities for Ridgeway likely won’t come in large amounts right away; however, he certainly is someone who can learn a lot throughout his rookie year to turn into a leader of the future.
Year 2: Osa Odighizuwa
If not for Micah Parsons, then Osa Odighizuwa would have been “the” Cowboys rookie find in the 2021 draft.
Not everybody is Parsons which means Odighizuwa played second fiddle, and his production slowed later in the year. But Odighizuwa is expected to take a significant leap in his second season now that the rookie haze has worn off.
There were similar expectations surrounding Neville Gallimore this time a year ago. Speaking of!
We discussed the state of the defensive tackles entering training camp in the latest video on the Blogging The Boys YouTube Channel. Make sure to subscribe to our channel (which you can do right here) so you don’t miss any of our videos!
Year 3: Neville Gallimore
It took all the way until December for us to finally see Gallimore which was certainly a bit disappointing (and something that Odighizuwa definitely took advantage of). Frankly the 2021 season was a bit of a lost campaign for Gallimore, but that shouldn’t diminish any sort of excitement about his future with the team.
Sometimes seasons like that can lead to altered expectations for players, but it is important to note that many of us were extremely high on Gallimore this time last year. He presents a point of stability and a sort of tenure at the position that hasn’t been seen in a bit.
Year 4: Trysten Hill
There is no question that Trysten Hill is on the hot seat entering camp. He is not someone who this regime drafted, he had attitude issues early on throughout his career, and there are a lot of younger players with at least an equal amount of talent.
Obviously Hill has never really realized the potential that Rod Marinelli thought he had. He is a candidate to get cut when the team trims down to their 53-man roster, he is someone that a lot of people would ike to see be traded.
When you do the math it is difficult to see Hill making this team. At your fourth year in the NFL, you either have to have defined where you belong or a bunch of other people are going to do that for you.