For the second time in three seasons, Dallas Cowboys Defensive Tackle Maliek Collins will miss the majority of the offseason program with a broken foot. Before recording an impressive five sacks as a rookie in 2016, Collins dealt with a broken right foot. Playing with lingering injuries 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 Terrell McClain. Released after the draft by the Washington Redskins, McClain opted to join the Atlanta Falcons 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 Rod Marinelli's defense is hard to tell. The Cowboys Defensive Coordinator remains optimistic for a player that never has missed a regular season game in two years.
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 defensive tackle, but did acquire one during the draft by trading for Oakland's Jihad Ward. A second round 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.
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 week 17 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 pass rush reps all through training camp in Dallas.
Perhaps a forgotten about piece of the Cowboys defensive line, 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.
Taco Charlton and veteran Tyrone Crawford 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 signing that recorded six sacks in his final season at Oklahoma State.
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 Richard Ash and Brian Price holding up the middle on defense.
If you're sensing a theme here, it is that injury concerns are holding back the true potential of the Cowboys defensive line. A promising nose tackle since signing with the Cowboys just before the 2017 season, 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 practice squad 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.
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 OTAs.
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.
BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Sign Free Agent Safety George Iloka
The Dallas Cowboys have reached a one-year agreement with Safety George Iloka, according to ESPN's Todd Archer. Iloka spent 2018 with the Vikings after six years with the Bengals.
He's started 79 of his 99 career games since being a fifth-round pick by Cincinnati in 2012. Iloka turns 29 years old next week.
The Cowboys have agreed to a one-year deal with safety George Iloka, according to a source. Iloka met with the Cowboys on Friday and was the third safety to meet with the club during the week along with Clayton Geathers and Eric Berry. The Cowboys have... https://t.co/JB5nJLWepc
This isn't the safety that most Cowboys fans wanted. After over a year of pining for Earl Thomas, sights turned to Eric Berry after his free agent visit in Dallas last week.
However, it makes sense that Iloka would be attractive to the Cowboys. At 6'4" and 225 lbs, he fits the physical mold of what Defensive Backs Coach Kris Richard likes in his players. He also is younger than than Berry and Thomas without the same recent injury issues.
Iloka becomes one of many Boise St. products on Dallas' roster, joining Tyrone Crawford, DeMarcus Lawrence, Leighton Vander Esch, and others. He entered the league with college teammates Crawford and Kellen Moore, the Cowboys' new offensive coordinator, in 2012.
We'll have to wait and see how George Iloka fits into the current mix at safety with Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods. He spent most of 2018 as a backup with Minnesota, but Dallas will likely give him a chance to start.
BREAKING: Cowboys Sign Ex-Packers WR Randall Cobb
According to multiple sources, the Dallas Cowboys have signed former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Randall Cobb to a one-year deal to help bolster their depth at the WR position and potentially become Cole Beasley's replacement.
Cowboys are giving former Packers' WR Randall Cobb a one-year, $5 million deal, per source. https://t.co/8KWFPjSP8T
The Dallas Cowboys met with Randall Cobb earlier this week, but he eventually left Dallas without a contract. He must've had a change of heart or just needed time to ponder the Cowboys offer, but regardless of what transpired in that short time he is now part of America's Team.
During his time with the Packers, Cobb accumulated 470 receptions for 5,524 receiving yards and 41 touchdowns. The eight-year veteran will now be expected to replace some of Cole Beasley's production out of the slot for the Dallas Cowboys.
After years of watching Beasley as the Cowboys slot WR, it will be really interesting to see Randall Cobb in that role. He's not as quick twitched as No. 11, but can be just as dangerous due to his ability to be more of a down the field receiver. He also brings added value in the return game and could compete with Tavon Austin to become the return specialist.
This could mean the Cowboys forgo drafting a wide receiver early in the 2019 NFL Draft, but I wouldn't put it past them. Regardless of what happens, this is an excellent addition.
Welcome to Cowboys Nation Randall Cobb!
REPORT: Dallas Cowboys Re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur
L.P. Ladouceur is returning for his 15th season as the Cowboys' long snapper. The veteran free agent was re-signed by Dalals today to a one-year deal.
Thanks to Jason Witten's one-year sabbatical with Monday Night Football, Ladouceur has now been with the Cowboys for more consecutive seasons than any current player. He just turned 38 last week, but Louis-Philippe remains one of the top long snappers in football.
The Cowboys have signed long-snapper L.P. Ladouceur to a one-year deal worth $1.03 million and $90,000 in bonus money, but he will count $735,000 against the cap. This will be Ladouceur's 15th season with the Cowboys, tying Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Mark... https://t.co/2iDsi6RX7e
Retaining Ladouceur is an underrated move for the Cowboys given their situation at kicker.
Brett Maher was only 80% accurate overall on field goals last year. The team could be considering an upgrade in free agency.
Whether they bring Maher back or try someone new, having a long snapper with Ladouceur's performance perfection will make things much easier for them.
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