This all may be a blessing in disguise for Maliek Collins. Collins was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2016 draft for the purpose of playing the Cowboys’ 3-tech. Despite the stout build, Collins has abnormal quickness and found success early with Dallas, collecting five sacks as a rookie under tackle. But the emergence of David Irving prompted a position shift for Collins – moving to the less-glamorous 1-tech last season.
It’s been my contention Collins was being wasted in this role and he’d be better served playing a part-time role at 3-tech than full-time at 1-tech. The situation with Irving may be enough to make this idea a reality.
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Working against Collins are two things:
- He’s rehabbing from injury and won’t be able to compete in camp right away.
- The Cowboys are equally as thin at 1-tech so moving to under tackle would be a “robbing Peter to pay Paul” scenario.
Much will depend on how Collins looks when he comes back from injury.
If he still has the quickness and explosion from his rookie year, the Cowboys would be wise to move him. If he doesn’t, 1-tech is his best opportunity to get on the field and contribute.
At only 23-years-old Maliek Collins should be spry enough to bounce back from this injury. And it was only two years ago he had one of the best rookie seasons we’ve seen in a while from an interior pass-rusher (seriously, not many rookie DTs have achieved a five sack season).
The easy answer to replace David Irving is to ask Tyrone Crawford (once again) to move inside. But a move like that may be impossible since he lost so much weight this offseason (so he’d be better equipped for the edge). It’s going to be tough to un-ring that bell.
As such, I see other players picking up the slack. Guys like the three players above.