In a radio interview yesterday, Stephen Jones named Trysten Hill as one of the Dallas Cowboys' starting defensive tackles in 2020. This validates what we've been hearing from training camp; the second-year prospect is finally delivering on his 2nd-round promise.
While we often fear the sophomore slump from many players, Hill's rookie season didn't leave much room for further disappointment. He reportedly fell into the doghouse due to a lack of effort and typical immature antics, such as arriving late to team meetings and falling asleep during them.
But after the first few weeks of this year's camp, Trysten was garnering praise for his renewed devotion to his craft. After pre-camp projections that Hill might not even make the roster in 2020, his sophomore surge has now taken him to the top of the depth chart.
Granted, Hill probably doesn't get this starting nod if Gerald McCoy hadn't suffered a season-ending quad injury. But this ascension also means he's beaten out veterans Tyrone Crawford and Antwaun Woods, plus 3rd-round rookie Neville Gallimore, for the job.
Nobody would've guessed that a month ago. Given Dallas' heavy offseason activity at defensive tackle, it didn't seem that they still had much faith in Trysten.
But this is what the Cowboys hoped for when they made Hill their 2nd-round pick in 2019. The initial expectation was that Trysten would take over as a starter this year given that Maliek Collins had an expiring contract.
Dallas allowed Collins to leave in free agency but then signed McCoy and Dontari Poe, retained Woods as an exclusive rights free agent, and spent a Day 2 pick on Gallimore. It felt like a complete overhaul of the position and, especially with a new coaching staff in town, Trysten Hill was starting to look like an afterthought.
But clearly, based on Stephen Jones' proclamation yesterday, Hill has pushed his way to the front of the line.
There will likely still be a heavy rotation of defensive linemen as Dallas utilizes multiple formations under new coordinator Mike Nolan. But Trysten has the size and athleticism to play in a variety of looks, be it a 4-3 DT or a 3-4 DE. And if Hill continues to build on this momentum in the regular season, he could make himself hard to take off the field.
The Cowboys will be looking to get their first win a week from tomorrow in Los Angeles. But before he goes up against the Rams' offensive line, Trysten Hill has already had a big victory in 2020. He's gone from maligned to praised, doghouse to penthouse, and is now one of your starting defensive tackles this season.