Why did the Cowboys draft Trysten Hill?:
It isn’t often the Cowboys pay a premium price for an under tackle, but it seems Trysten Hill was a reason to change their philosophy. When I scouted Hill, his athletic traits impressed me but his technique was rather sloppy; this was a main reason I gave a late 3rd/ early 4th round grade on the defensive tackle. (My scouting report on Hill is here)
It seems the Cowboys may have been in a battle to grab the Golden Knight before other teams did in the third like the Browns, Packers, Texans, and Eagles.
At first glance, it doesn’t make sense as to why the Cowboys drafted a player who isn’t ready to start yet, but you just have to take a closer look. After this season, the only defensive tackles on contract will be:
Yep, that’s it. A guy who shares time at defensive end and defensive tackle is the only defensive tackle on contract beyond 2019. (Funny how that works) At some point I’d like to see Taco Charlton moved over to 3 technique, but that’s a discussion for another day.
The Trysten Hill selection, much like most picks in this draft, was a selection where the biggest impact would only be felt a year from now. Given the current roster, this isn’t a bad idea at all. This roster is one of the better rosters the Cowboys have had since the last time we won a Super Bowl. With the Cowboys picking so late in the second round, the odds of finding a plug and play starter were minimal to begin with.
So given that circumstance, the Cowboys were smart to draft the guy with higher athletic upside. Knowing they may not bring back Antwaun Woods, Maliek Collins, and Christian Covington back the following season, developing your own talent will mitigate their losses.
Team building is tricky. Not only are teams required to build for the present, but also they have to consider the future. In the past, the Cowboys have been the bearer of bad contracts. Trysten Hill would prevent the Cowboys from making a bad investment even if defensive tackle isn’t a position of high demand for the Cowboys.
What else was at play at 58?:
If the Cowboys had not selected Hill, Juan Thornhill was the other guy at play according to Todd Archer. It was no secret the Cowboys were eyeing a ball hawking safety this draft after Stephen Jones made his aspirations public, however, it seems the Cowboys felt the under tackle was more important for the sake of Rod Marinelli’s scheme.
In addition, it seems the Cowboys were listening to offers of trading down, but given what we know, Hill and Thornhill had to be off the board for such an event to occur. After all, they did end up trading down two picks later in the draft.
In all, Cowboys fans will compare Hill and Thornhill for the rest of their careers to see if the Cowboys made the right choice.