Many Dallas Cowboys fans have forgotten how promising Maliek Collins once looked, so today we as if it’s possible to rediscover the potential he flashed as a rookie
Maliek Collins has become a bit of an afterthought here in 2019. Part of it is the fact Dallas just drafted his likely replacement. And part of it is Collins has done little to make us believe he’s going to be anything more than “just a guy”.
But that wasn’t always the case with Maliek Collins. Once upon a time he was considered one of the most promising rookies in his class. Only two years removed from that spectacular rookie season, a bounce-back is entirely possible.
When Dallas drafted Maliek Collins in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft, they thought they scored their under tackle of the future. That’s because the girthy defensive tackle out of Nebraska has abnormal explosion and quickness for guy standing 6’2″ 308 lbs (he was Trysten Hill before Trysten Hill).
But wouldn’t you know it – injuries hampered him every single season in the NFL. Even still, Collins put up one of the most impressive rookie pass-rushing seasons in his class. In 2016 Collins played 662 snaps tallying five sacks and 27 total pressures (which was the best in his class at DT).
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Since then it’s been seemingly injury after injury. Collins may have played in 29 of 32 games the last two regular seasons, but he’s been noticeably limited by injury. The past two seasons have been so underwhelming from a production standpoint, the Dallas Cowboys were compelled to use their top pick in the 2019 NFL Draft to select his eventual replacement.
Collins, playing in the last year of his rookie deal, may be a longshot to remain in Dallas beyond this season, but that doesn’t mean he’s not going to be given every opportunity to succeed. DT is a notoriously hard position to play as a rookie, so it would be a stretch to think rookie Trysten Hill can make a very big impact this season. The best option for the Dallas Cowboys is Maliek Collins at the 3-tech.
Only 24-years-old, Collins has a lot of time to reclaim that potential we saw in 2016. And standing on the cusp of free agency, he’ll be extra motivated to perform well this season. That’s why he may be in line for a breakout season.
With Antwaun Woods and Christian Covington firmly entrenched as solid 1-tech DTs, Collins will see the bulk of his snaps from the playmaking 3-tech under tackle spot. And with DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn drawing most of the defense’s attention on the edges, opportunities will be plentiful for the once-promising pass-rusher.
Only three seasons ago Maliek Collins was being viewed as one of the best young interior linemen in the NFL. He can reclaim that honor if he takes advantage of the perfect situation the Dallas Cowboys have placed him. He just has to stay healthy.
- Published on 06/15/2019 at 12:01 PM
- Last updated at 06/14/2019 at 06:50 AM