Looking back on the Cowboys’ disappointing 2019 season, one has to go as far back as the NFL Draft. Last year’s edition didn’t go well for the Dallas Cowboys. Out of their eight picks, only one player was an important contributor during the season. Fourth-round pick Tony Pollard was explosive and put his talent on display frequently. More importantly, he proved he was more than just a gadget player. But even Pollard, the team’s best rookie of the year, wasn’t that important. He played for only 18% of the offensive snaps.
That’s not a knock on him, of course. After all, the Cowboys do have a top-tier running back who will eat up most of the playing time. But it goes to show how little Dallas got out of their rookie class.
But the biggest disappointment came with the team’s first selection of the year: DT Trysten Hill, from UCF.
Hill’s name was called in the second round (in case you forgot, remember the Cowboys had traded away their first-round pick for Amari Cooper) to the surprise of many. This was perceived by most as a Rod Marinelli pick and after watching Taco Charlton fail in Dallas, fans weren’t very happy.
Even still, Trysten Hill was expected to be a contributor. Instead, he played in only 11% of the defensive snaps and was a healthy scratch most of the season. In the NFL, it’s always difficult to tag a player as a “bust.” Right now, fans and analysts are leaning that way, but it might be too early in his career to do it.
A coaching overhaul in Dallas could end up helping Hill. While many praise Marinelli’s abilities to develop young defensive linemen, it’s fair to note that new DL Coach Jimmy Tomsula is also very respected in the league.
It’s worth noting that Hill’s playing time wasn’t evenly distributed throughout the season. 50% of his snaps came in the first two games he played in. After that, he didn’t get to see the field significant time.
Since taking over the Cowboys, Mike McCarthy has confirmed that the defense will remain playing with four defensive linemen. Is Trysten Hill in their plans? And if so, can Tomsula turn his career around as Kris Richard did with Byron Jones?