Training camp is about to begin for the Dallas Cowboys. Preparation for the 2021-2022 NFL season has been happening ever since the end of 2020, but once the pads go on for their first practice, it’s all finally going to feel real.
As Mike McCarthy returns to helm the Cowboys for his second season as head coach, the team still has quite a few question marks looming over them, including which players need to bounce back from down seasons. After finishing 6-10 last year, plenty of players will stand to improve upon poor performances.
With that in mind, here are three Cowboys who need to have a great training camp this season. If they don’t they could stand to lose playing time, or worse, end up cut.
Trysten Hill, DT
When defensive tackle Trysten Hill was announced as the Dallas Cowboys’ top pick in the 2019 NFL Draft there were plenty of skeptics. While Hill was seen as a talented player who could potentially be a disruptive force in the middle of the defensive line, many analysts still questioned his drive and love of the game.
Things were shaky almost immediately as Hill made headlines after it was reported that the team had him sign a “work ethic contract” before he even signed his rookie deal. Pretty safe to say that’s never the way you want to see someone start their career.
Since being drafted Hill has struggled to find consistent playing time, failing to earn reps on the interior of a depleted Dallas defensive line that might be one of the weakest position groups on the roster. He’s also never sacked an opposing quarterback and has a whopping 16 career total tackles in 12 games and just five starts.
Did Trysten Hill show the Dallas Cowboys too little too late?
For what it’s worth, Hill did flash some visible signs for improvement last season. He started every game he played in and generally looked quicker and stronger than he did as a rookie.
However, just when it looked like he might be ready to step into a large role in the defensive rotation, his season was derailed as he tore his ACL against the New York Giants. That progress might have been too little too late though and this training camp Hill might not be fighting for just playing time, he could be competing for his spot on the roster.
Trysten Hill will be facing some stiff competition this training camp as the Dallas Cowboys signed linemen Brent Urban in free agency and added rookies Osa Odighizuwa and Quinton Bohanna in the third and sixth rounds of the draft. Second-year linemen Neville Gallimore also stands to see a more prominent role after he flashed plenty of talent last year.
Of course, it is also possible that Hill ends up having a breakout season under new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and finally cements himself as a starter. The problem is that I just don’t think that his past performance gives him any benefit of the doubt there, and he’s running low on opportunities to prove himself.
As he enters his third pro season, the pressure is on for Trysten Hill to finally show the Dallas Cowboys something that might indicate he’s worthy of a roster spot, and it needs to start with a good training camp. This season is going to be make or break for Hill, and if he doesn’t get off to a quick start, he could find himself looking for a new team.