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    Cowboys Must Help DT Maliek Collins Bounce Back in 2018

    While and were the shining stars of the ' 2016 rookies, third-round pick Maliek Collins was a major factor in the perceived greatness of that draft class. He emerged as a key player on the 2016 and was expected to continue that growth this season. Unfortunately, health and changes in the defensive line rotation limited Collins' effectiveness.

    Maliek Collins went from five as a rookie, to just half that number in 2017.

    You also didn't see him disrupting plays in the backfield or making the same general impact that we enjoyed in 2016. A major reason for that was a foot Collins battled for more than half the season. He played through it, but it's a fair assumption that he didn't have the same explosion when that foot was aggravated.

    Along with that, there were many changes on the defensive line. 's exit last Spring led to the arrival . Paea took over for McClain, but then started missing time with his own health. He suddenly retired after week 5, adding to the tumultuous situation across the line.

    Dallas also had to work back into the mix after his four-game , which at times pushed Collins into more of a space-eating role as the “one technique” defensive . This player generally does not get the same opportunities to attack quarterbacks; another reason for Collins' drop in sacks and visibility.

    Maliek Collins, Redskins
    Dallas Cowboys DT Maliek Collins (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

    Part of helping Maliek Collins get back to his rookie impact, if not better, will be finding a new player to occupy that 1-tech DT role. Collins is athletic and he needs to be put in the right situations to do what he does best.

    Dallas needs to feel good about Collins going forward because they have some big decisions to make on that defensive line.

    Some have suggested the Cowboys could spend even their first-round draft pick in 2018 on a defensive tackle. That wouldn't be illogical, given all of these question marks.

    If Dallas does draft a DT, it shouldn't be a guy who pushes Collins to the side. They got a good one with that third-round pick, and now the Cowboys need to add complimentary pieces that will allow Maliek and their other young talents to progress in the roles they're made to play.

    Maliek Collins looked like a bright young star as a rookie and was put in a tough spot last season. Whatever their strategy is going forward, part of it should include getting Collins back to where he belongs on the defensive line, so he can have a true breakout season in his third year.

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    Jess Haynie
    Jess Haynie
    Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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    5 COMMENTS

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    nick

    I’m dreaming of lawrence and irving on the ends and collins and Vea in the middle. Ill keep dreaming though, we couldn’t get so lucky.

    Travis Diggs

    The goal should be to resign Irving and probably still draft a DT

    Nick Russo

    I strongly agree with everything you said. Collins was an impact player as a rookie as a 3-technique. Our 1-tech has been a revolving door for years now. I think we have more depth than we think on the D-line besides for a true 1-tech. With Irving, Lawrence, taco, Charles tapper, and potentially Randy Gregory, (if he can keep it together) we have some good quality players at DE. Then if they decide to keep Crawford you have an DT-DE hybrid to keep players fresh.

    John McClain

    Vita Vea is the pick that could make the Dline dominate

    John Williams

    Collins definitely is a better 3T. Find a 1T in the offseason (Star Lotuleilei or draft one) and let Collins get more of his snaps at the 3.


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