The Browns continue to reshape their defensive line, signing former Cowboys defensive tackle Trysten Hill, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The addition is one of several changes the team has made as Cleveland attempts to improve on a defense that gave up the eighth-most rushing yards in the league last year while tallying the sixth-fewest sacks.
A second-round pick out of UCF in 2019, Hill’s career has suffered from his inability to stay on the field. During a disappointing rookie season, Hill was a healthy scratch for nine games due to poor etiquette at the team facilities. The young lineman had been sent home for arriving late to practice and falling asleep during a presentation from guest speaker and NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas. Despite an injury to the team’s starting defensive tackle, Hill’s issues off the field were bad enough to keep him out of the lineup.
In his sophomore season, due to an injury to starter Gerald McCoy, Hill started the year as the team’s starting defensive tackle. An ACL tear would end his season after five games, though. Hill was finally able to return from the injury in November of the following year but was suspended for a game weeks later after punching then-Raiders lineman John Simpson in a postgame altercation. Between personal behavior, injuries, and suspensions, Hill has only appeared in 31 of a possible 66 games over his career.
As Hill continued to slide down the depth chart in Dallas, the Cowboys decided to waive the young tackle after failing to find a trade partner that might take him. He was claimed off the waiver wire by the Cardinals the next day, allowing him to compete for snaps with Leki Fotu, Jonathan Ledbetter, and Michael Dogbe. He functioned in a backup capacity for most of the rest of the season before being placed on injured reserve to end the season.
In Cleveland, Hill will serve as a depth piece on a retooled Browns defensive line that is losing Taven Bryan, Chase Winovich, and Jadeveon Clowney to free agency. The Browns targeted replacing some of that loss by signing veteran defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson earlier this week. The team was also considered a favorite to sign former Broncos defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones, as well, until the young defender agreed to a deal with the Seahawks.
Right now, favorites for playing time on the Browns’ defensive front are Tomlinson, Jordan Elliott, and Perrion Winfrey. Hill will compete with a number of other backups for playing time in rotation with those three. Cleveland will be a clean slate for him to attempt to make up for the shortcomings of his past NFL history.