The story of Trysten Hill and the Dallas Cowboys remains unfinished. Despite being with the organization for going on four years now, the former 2019 second-round pick (58th overall) has become somewhat of an afterthought after what can only be described as an underwhelming professional career thus far in his three years in the league. But, there is reason to believe things could change for the better for him in a big way in 2022.
You can label him a draft bust or a victim of unfortunate circumstances and neither would likely garner an argument from anyone. Sadly enough, he’s become arguably the most criticized player on the roster. Because of that, people are ready to cut ties with him, but they might not want to be too hasty.
Today, we’re going to discuss three reasons why the 2022 season is shaping up to be a breakout one for the Cowboys young defensive tackle. Everything could finally be falling in place for him and that’s not only good news for his future in the league, but also for the Dan Quinn-led defense as well. Sounds like a win-win for all parties involved, doesn’t it!?
Maturity has been a pretty big red flag for Hill dating back to his days at the University of Central Florida (UCF). It’s one of the reasons he was inactive for nine games his rookie season and why he earned a one-game suspension in 2021 for throwing a punch in a postgame altercation after losing to the Raiders. Despite all of that though, there’s reason to believe all of that is behind him entering Year 4.
Believe it or not, but No. 72 has probably matured before our eyes without us even noticing it. From underperforming and being inactive the majority of his rookie season, going through a coaching change to working his way back from a season-ending injury in years two and three, Hill has been put through the grinder early and often in his young career and has surprisingly responded pretty well.
All of the misfortune he’s had to overcome thus far could’ve easily sent him down the rabbit hole with no return. Instead, he’s fought his way back and shown positive maturation from both a mental and physical standpoint throughout that time. Because of all of that, he should be much more prepared than he probably has ever been at any point in his professional career heading into the 2022 season.
Bad luck is arguably just as much a reason as to why Hill hasn’t quite lived up to his draft pedigree as of yet as is anything else you can bring up. That bad luck came in the form of a season-ending injury in 2020 that abruptly put an end to his short time as the starting three-technique for the Cowboys defense. After just starting five games, he was placed on injured reserve in October, thus putting an end to his sophomore season.
Unfortunately for him, his bad luck continued as it took longer than expected for him to fully recover. He ended up having to start the 2021 season on the physically unable to perform list and wasn’t activated until mid-November last year. Jumping back into the mix with no offseason work is difficult to do for any professional athlete, but even more so for one working their way back from a season-ending injury.
As luck would have it though, things are looking up for No. 72 heading into the 2022 season. He’s had the entire offseason to prepare for this year and has had no setbacks or any other injury concerns so far. If this trend continues, and he can stay completely healthy, we could very well see the very best version of Hill this season.
If you had to choose just one reason why 2022 will be a breakout season for Hill, entering a contract year would probably sit atop the a list. Nothing seems to motivate professional athletes more than the almighty dollar, and No. 72 is no exception. He knows very well what’s at stake for him this year and you can bet he’s going to do everything within his power to put his best foot forward.
If he didn’t know it already, after spending three years in the league he knows now the NFL isn’t just a game, it’s a business. As a business, he probably understands now that if you want to see your bank account increase significantly you have to perform when the pads are on. Not only for the team you are currently with, but for the 31 others who could be bidding for your services once your contract expires.
Time and time again we’ve seen players perform at their best in the final year of their current contract. Money just has a way of providing a little extra spark, even if professional athletes continue to deny it as a motivating factor. Hill should be no different. He knows not only his professional career hangs in the balance in 2022, but so does improving his livelihood with what he hopes is a multiyear contract extension from someone.