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What Maliek Collins’ Foot Injury Means for Dallas Cowboys Defensive Line

For the second time in three seasons, Defensive will miss the majority of the program with a broken foot. Before recording an impressive five as a rookie in 2016, Collins dealt with a broken right foot. Playing with lingering while going through a position change last season, Collins now becomes something of an unknown commodity for the Cowboys preparing for 2018.

Even before this latest setback for Collins, we know the Cowboys had interest in upgrading the 1T position with former DT . Released after the draft by the , McClain opted to join the following his visit with the Cowboys.

Whether or not this was an early sign that Maliek Collins was preparing to line up at 3T for 's is hard to tell. The Cowboys remains optimistic for a player that never has missed a regular season game in two years.

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

Collins' best play with the Cowboys has come as a true interior pass rusher, which is where the depth the Cowboys seem to have this year will truly have its chance to shine.

The Cowboys did not draft a , but did acquire one during the draft by trading for Oakland's . A pick of the Raiders in 2016, Ward is another player the Cowboys will be looking to keep healthy if Marinelli is to get the most out of him – hindered by frequent lower body injuries.

What Maliek Collins' Foot Injury Means for Dallas Cowboys Defensive Line
Dallas Cowboys DT Datone Jones

Datone Jones was signed by the Cowboys in week 13 of last season, seeing increased action at the 3T position as the season came to an end. Jones recorded a sack in Philadelphia for the Cowboys –  a lasting impression that the veteran would stick on his fifth team since 2015. Now, he can expect plenty of reps all through in Dallas.

Perhaps a forgotten about piece of the Cowboys , Datone Jones may benefit the most from Maliek Collins' absence. The same could also be said about David Irving, who can earn an even larger role defensively should he prove a consistent force at DT this summer.

and veteran are defensive ends with experience on the interior for the Cowboys. Even with solid depth at DE, both players should have their roster spots at this position secured, and I believe the Cowboys would be reluctant to line either up as a “starting” DT.

The only Cowboys defensive tackle to hit the field so far this offseason would be DeQuinton Osborne, a UDFA that recorded six sacks in his final season at .

Brian Price
Dallas Cowboys DT

Regardless of where Maliek Collins lines up following his rehab, there is another starting DT spot up for grabs in Dallas. Losing out on Terrell McClain, the Cowboys appear set to move forward with the likes of and Brian Price holding up the middle on defense.

If you're sensing a theme here, it is that concerns are holding back the true potential of the Cowboys defensive line. A promising nose tackle since signing with the Cowboys just before the , Brian Price appeared in only eight games before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

Price returns to the Cowboys this season on a team-friendly two-year deal.

Daniel Ross also remains on the Cowboys roster for 2018, hoping to become their latest steal off the Chiefs to contribute at DT. Following the path of David Irving, Ross bounced around with the Texans and Lions as a UDFA in 2017. Kansas City was Ross' last stop before signing with the Cowboys, finally seeing playing time in three regular season games.

Cowboys' Rookies To Begin Training Camp Wednesday At The Star
Dallas Cowboys DC Rod Marinelli, DE Taco Charlton (Matthew Emmons- Sports)

This portion of the offseason is all about understanding what the Dallas Cowboys have “on paper”. With their rookie class being the exception, the Cowboys roster exists only on paper for a few more weeks until .

Fielding one of their deepest defensive lines in years, the competition for all four starting spots will begin as soon as the pads come on.

Maliek Collins will be welcomed back by the Cowboys as soon as he's ready to play again, and monitoring what this defensive line looks like without him will be very fun this summer.

Sean Martin
Sean Martinhttp://wmscradio.com/show/upon-further-review/
Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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Hector Espindola

Seems 1T answer would come from players already in the roster and after the battle at camp of the likes of DeQuinton, Ash, Price or Ross.

Pete186

They need to sign HANKINS, forget about McClain.

EverybodyTalks

DQ is a BEAST. Hope he shines in camp. There is opportunity for him, with this injury, to make the roster.

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