Shortly after the Dallas Cowboys concluded their first training camp practice of 2021, it came across Thursday’s newswire that free-agent cornerback Holton Hill held a tryout for the team.
“Cowboys hosted former Vikings and ex-Texas CB Holton Hill for a workout today, a source said,” Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News confirmed. “Team currently at 89 players on 90-man roster. If signed, Hill would replace CB Rashard Robinson, who was released last week.”
About an hour later, Dallas had reached a decision on Hill’s would-be acquisition.
“The Cowboys are not signing free agent CB Holton Hill, per source,” Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
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An Experienced CB Option
On its face, it’s curious that Dallas would choose to bring in Hill considering the glut of cornerbacks currently inhabiting the depth chart: Trevon Diggs, Jourdan Lewis, Anthony Brown, Kelvin Joseph, Nahshon Wright, CJ Goodwin, Deante Burton, and Maurice Canady. Diggs and Wright were impressive during Thursday’s practice; the former picked off Dak Prescott and the latter broke up several pass attempts. And Lewis, Brown, and Joseph are all locked into key roles.
But they also could do worse than Hill, a fourth-year pro who appeared in 28 games, starting 6, for the Minnesota Vikings, with whom he entered the NFL as a 2018 undrafted free agent. The Texas product has logged 73 tackles, 11 pass deflections, and one interception across 779 career snaps.
He eventually fell out of favor with Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, who opted to waive the 24-year-old from injured reserve last December. Hill — whose checkered past includes multiple suspensions related to performance-enhancing drugs — has received no known interest on the open market.
As a collegian, Hill was a three-season contributor, posting 92 solo tackles, eight PBUs, and five INTs over 25 games for the Longhorns. The 6-foot-2, 196-pound cover man was billed as a mid-round draft prospect and drew comparisons to Steelers defensive back Sean Davis.
“Hill has the size, strength and athletic ability that teams covet at cornerback, but his maturity issues will force teams to have early conversations about whether or not he will be on their board,” NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein wrote in 2018. “Hill made tremendous strides as a cover man this year and has the potential to take yet another big step forward once he trusts his footwork and becomes less grabby. His instincts and physicality in run support could allow teams to consider moving him to safety at some point. If Hill runs well at the Combine, that could override potential maturity issues.”
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CB Call-Out Following Release
Last weekend, the Cowboys released veteran CB Rashard Robinson, who’s set to serve a two-game suspension to start the regular season. Robinson evidently wasn’t (isn’t?) happy about being served walking papers — and is determined to make Dallas rue its decision.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL