OXNARD, Calif. - Trysten Hill is getting ready to work under his third defensive coordinator in three NFL seasons, meaning he doesn't exactly have "a sponsor in the building.''
He's also got a lingering injury issue that may lead to his exit from the building.
The 2019 second-round defensive tackle, the Dallas Cowboys' top selection in that year's NFL Draft, is beginning this training camp on the PUP list. That's not a career death sentence; Demarcus Lawrence and Amari Cooper are among the Cowboys in the same situation.
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But while Hill can be billed as a "starter'' - he actually was that to begin the 2020 season - he's not on the same level with Cooper and Lawrence. So even when he does come back from his knee injury (something that may not happen in the next month leading up to Dallas' regular-season start), he is guaranteed nothing here.
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Team owner Jerry Jones once used the word “lolly-gagging'' when it camp to Hill, who was drafted 58th overall in 2019 in large part due to the recommendation of then-coordinator Rod Marinelli. But Hill rarely saw the field as a rookie, with just five tackles in just seven games, spending more time in trouble (once for falling asleep in a meeting) than on the field.
It may have worked better for the 6-3, 308-pound defender under Mike Nolan, who gave him a shot. Hill did get 11 tackles and three quarterback hits over five starts, a launch cut short by a torn ACL sustained last October.
And what does this year's coordinator, Dan Quinn, think of Hill? Know that Quinn's influence pushed the Cowboys to revamp the interior defensive line this offseason as the club signed veterans Brent Urban and Carlos Watkins and then drafted Osa Odighizuwa and Quinton Bohanna.
A healthy Trysten Hill might be able to compete there. A Trysten Hill on PUP? For a team still reeling from having allowed 14 100-yard-rushing games in 16 outings a season ago, that means roster danger. Actually "cutting'' him might be drastic, especially if his issues are physical/medical. But actually playing him? That seems a long way off.
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