Re-grading the Dallas Cowboys 2016 draft, seven years later

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Round Three, Pick #67 – Maliek Collins

The Dallas Cowboys rarely invest in the interior defensive line with their earlier picks but made an exception when drafting Maliek Collins in 2016. During his time in Dallas, he was considered a rising star as an interior defensive lineman.

During his four-year stint with the Dallas Cowboys, he racked up 40 quarterback hits paired with 14.5 sacks. These numbers may not pop off the page if you look at the box score, but defensive tackles are not known for putting up league-leading sacks or padding their stats when asked to stuff the run a majority of the time. Nevertheless, Maliek showed he could be a starter for the Dallas Cowboys and had flashes of superstardom during his time in Big D.

Collins appears to have found a home back in Texas, just not with America’s Team. He is now on his third team in the last five years, with the Houston Texans, due to multiple injuries and several surgeries to his foot. Collins had a down year and dip in production during his time with the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020. However, he showed glimpses of his old self again in 2021, earning himself a two-year contract extension with the Texan for $17,000,000.

Coming off of a career year in 2022, Collins will again have to prove himself as he is in a contract year and will be a free agent following the 2023 season. Although he didn’t sign a second contract with the Dallas Cowboys, Collins was a formidable piece of the interior line during his time in Dallas. If it wasn’t for his injuries and multiple surgeries on his foot, Collins might still be a Cowboy.

Individual Grade: B-