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Jump Aboard the Maliek Collins Hype Train

Maliek Collins

Training camp is just around the corner and there will be a number of players we are looking forward to watching when it opens for the Dallas Cowboys. Pet cats aren’t just for the draft, they can also be used for camp when you’re excited to watch a certain player and for me, that player is Maliek Collins.

Dallas’ defense has been called the weakness of the team and while the same held true before last season, it was a unit that overachieved. One of the reasons for that was the play of Collins, who played extremely well as a rookie. Collins was second on the team in sacks with five, a very good number for a first-year pass rusher who plays inside.

For reference, here are just a few other prominent defensive tackles’ rookie sack totals.

Warren Sapp had three in his first season, as did Geno Atkins and Gerald McCoy in their rookie years, Tommie Harris had 3.5, while freak shows Aaron Donald had nine and Ndamukong Suh had 10 respectively. That puts Collins in the middle of some impressive company to start his career.

This was done, mind you, after Collins missed almost all of training camp with a foot injury. He worked his way into shape during the season and wound up taking away playing time from veterans Tyrone Crawford and Cedric Thornton, a player who the Cowboys signed to a modest contract in free agency last year.

Collins comes into year two with a full off-season of work with Rod Marinelli and a spot firmly entrenched as the team’s best three-technique tackle. It’s a position that Marinelli makes stars out of, and his prize pupil as always been Sapp. The Hall of Fame defensive tackle was listed at 6-2, 303 pounds; Collins comes in at 6-2 and 305.

That is not to say that Collins can be compared to Sapp, that is a long way off, but Marinelli’s scheme works best with good edge rushers on the outside, as well as a dominant player on the inside. If Collins continues to mature as a player, it would be a huge lift to the defense and a sluggish pass rush. Collins could be the piece that Marinelli has lacked since he arrived in Dallas and Collins is certainly the best three-technique he’s had since becoming the team’s defensive coordinator.

Maliek Collins is still a work in progress but the potential is there. He is just 22-years old and should build on a successful rookie season to become the next big-time three-technique player for Rod Marinelli. Collins looks like a major piece of the defensive puzzle for the Dallas Cowboys and you should expect one heck of a season from the young defensive tackle.

Mark Collins down as one of the players to watch in training camp, and beyond. Jump on-board the hype train now, seats are filling up fast.

You can chat with or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi

Ben Grimaldi

Ben Grimaldi

Senior Analyst at SportsTalkLine
Writer for ProFootBallTalkLine.Com. Associate sports producer. Lets talk sports! On Twitter @BenGrimaldi and Podcasting for STL!
Ben Grimaldi

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  • Football Mensa

    Collins is the most talented d lineman on the Cowboys. He will need some help from the rookie de.

    • housedj75

      both of them. I’m counting Tapper as a rookie still

      • Football Mensa

        Tapper breaking out would be huge.

        • housedj75

          hell, him seeing the field will be huge. ahaha Of all the unknown quantities on this Def, he’s the one I’m most interested in. Hasn’t played a game (obvious) BUT has had a full year in the strength program, I’m sure has been studying film, been getting coaching , learning NFL technique, etc. So a rookie (no game experience) but not a rookie (should understand what it’s going to take to make it this year, knows what the coaches want see, etc)
          I’m excited to see what he & Taco may do.

  • daledoe

    Let’s hope Collins has a whole lot more class than cheap shot artist Warren Sapp. He far exceeded my expectations last year after missing camp with his injury. I expect big things from him this year.

  • housedj75

    toot, toot….

  • Jon B

    All players do well in the offseason workout and a full year away from college. No college commitments and adjustment to being a pro and getting in the weight room with the strength coach full time. College workouts are restricted. Pros are a program designed by one of the best in the biz.

    Collins was a great find and solid rookie. Their is no better place to have a pass rusher than up the gut. 5 from him is like 10 from outside end.

    Other than the speedy pass rusher (yes I’m looking at you Cheech and Chong Gregory) Dallas has a lot of solid front 7 and good safety in Jones. The DBs need to learn fast but it’s a young team and it just got younger.

    If Zeke and Dak play 16 games Dallas will be in the playoffs. 10-6 perhaps but still this is a ball control O that depends on Zeke. Defense isn’t facing Aaron Rodgers every week. By mid season your rookies ain’t rookies any more. You’ve identified players.