3 former notable Cowboys who were cut leading up to 53-man roster deadline

  • A former second-round pick 
  • Bad run of luck for this player 
  • A former fan favorite
Indianapolis Colts v New York Giants
Indianapolis Colts v New York Giants / Jamie Squire/GettyImages

The 53-man roster deadline has come and gone, but the Dallas Cowboys have been busy making moves to finalize their squad before the regular season.

It was humbling to see how many recent draft picks were waived by Dallas. The 2021 draft class experienced the most turnover, as a whopping six players from the class got cut, including once-promising development projects Kelvin Joseph and Jabril Cox.

It's easily one of the worst Cowboys draft classes in recent memory, but they had some glaring misses in both 2020 and 2019 as well. Unfortunately, some former Cowboys draft picks were part of the league-wide roster crunch.

It's quite possible we missed one or two considering the sheer number of moves that were made around the league, but these three stick out the most, because they either never panned out in Dallas or had a tumultuous end with the team.

3. DT Trysten Hill (Browns)

Without a first-round pick in the 2019 draft following the Amari Cooper trade, Hill was the Cowboys' first pick that year in the second round. In just over three seasons in Dallas, Hill amassed 33 tackles, 11 QB hits and 0.5 sacks. He appeared in 25 games and made five starts, all of which came in 2020 before a torn ACL ended his season.

Injuries and a lack of development prevented Hill from panning out in Dallas. He signed with the Browns in March after a promising stint with Arizona last year and flashed in preseason with Cleveland, but missed most of training camp with a hand injury.

2. Brett Maher (Broncos)

Maher really can't catch a break. The Broncos seemed like a perfect landing spot for the former Cowboys kicker. With Sean Payton seemingly having the final say on the roster, though, Denver moved for former Saints kicker Wil Kutz, who played for Payton for five seasons in the Big Easy.

There's been a ton of kicker movement in the NFL this week, so it stands to reason Maher will find another gig, but you have to wonder where his confidence is at after he was demoted in Denver despite a strong camp and preseason ... to say nothing of whether he's recovered from his playoff meltdown.

1. Jaylon Smith (Saints)

Smith was a surprise cut by the Saints. The former Cowboys second-round pick popped in preseason and performed well in camp. He'll likely end up on New Orleans' practice squad as insurance behind Pete Warner, but roster uncertainty has been a familiar sight for Smith since he was cut by Dallas in 2021.

In the two seasons since, Smith had a cup of coffee with the Packers (two games) and enjoyed a longer-than-expected stint with the Giants. He started 11 games for New York last season, but wasn't re-signed in the offseason.

Smith was an extreme liability by the end of his Cowboys tenure, but his comeback story is still inspiring and fans will be rooting for him to succeed with the Saints.