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Why DT Maliek Collins Will Have A Breakout Season In 2017

Kevin Brady



Maliek Collins

All of Cowboys Nation has entered the 2017 offseason with one goal on their mind: find a pass rusher.

The Dallas Cowboys, who's only true edge rusher in Randy Gregory will be suspended for all of next season, are expected to draft at least one defensive end this April. Already having one of the league's top offenses, everybody understands where the Cowboys' holes are and what must be done to fill them.

With that being said, the Cowboys defensive line is far from a complete lost-cause. In 2016, multiple young rushmen emerged and showed that they could sustain a high level of play throughout the entire season.

At the top of that list is former Nebraska defensive tackle Maliek Collins.

Collins was forced to miss just about every offseason activity the Cowboys had due to a foot injury. But when he was finally healthy and ready to go, Collins showed flashes of his top-tier tackle potential.

maliek collins 3 - Streamable

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When the Cowboys first drafted Maliek Collins in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft, I reviewed his college film and concluded that he could be an impactful 3-technique for Rod Marinelli.

Now, almost a full year later and a full season into Collins' career, my stance on Collins has only been strengthened by his play.

A relentless pass rusher who plays with an incredibly high motor, Collins finished his rookie season with 5 sacks and a forced fumble. For a defensive tackle, 5 sacks is a superb season, and one that could have warranted Collins Defensive Rookie of the Year recognition if he was apart of a better unit.

The above play illustrates my favorite two qualities of Collins' game, his get-off and his hands. Collins possesses a vicious rip move as well as quick swim which help him win against interior offensive linemen. He also does a nice job head faking, and forcing offensive linemen to commit their hands too early. When he sees hands, he is able to swat them away, flip his hips, and get after the quarterback.

maliek collins - Streamable

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Even on plays where Collins may have "lost" initially, his motor and effort get him through. For a defensive tackle, Collins effort is off the charts. He refuses to give up on plays and keeps both his hands and feet active all the way through the whistle.

He is also an extremely athletic player, something that coach Marinelli certainly loves about him. Many times this season Collins chased down run plays and screen passes from behind to make tackles. Moving laterally with quickness and fluidity, Collins looks more like an end than a tackle in open space.

maliek collins 2 - Streamable

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Against the run, Collins combines his athleticism with power to win at the line of scrimmage. Back in week 8 against the Eagles, we see Collins beat the tackle across his face right off the ball with a quick first step and powerful rip. Able to maintain leverage while moving down the line, Collins meets Darren Sproles a yard down field to make the stop short of a first down.

Of course, all of these highlight plays are in the past now, lost in season which ended in disappointment. Still, I believe that Maliek Collins, as well as others such as David Irving, are not getting the credit they deserve by the fans.

The Cowboys do need to vastly improve on certain elements of their defense, defensive end being at the top of that list. If they can add a rusher like Carl Lawson or Takkarist McKinley to the edge with Maliek Collins on the inside pushing the pocket, this defensive line will become one of the youngest and most explosive in the entire league.

Maliek Collins had a fantastic rookie season, one that would be talked about more if it weren't for the Cowboys first and fourth round picks of the same draft. But he is only going to get better, and barring any major injuries, is set to have a breakout season in 2017.

Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

1 Comment
  • cornstalkwalker

    I would say he had a breakout year in 2016. He took the starting job and was 2nd in sacks. Hopefully, the sky’s the limit and we have the next W Sapp for this defense.

Player News

Cowboys Trade for FB Jamize Olawale from Raiders

Jess Haynie



Jamize Olawale, Raiders

Less than a week after the Cowboys lost fullback Keith Smith to the Raiders in free agency, the two teams have worked out a trade to send FB Jamize Olawale from Oakland to Dallas.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Fullback trade! The #Raiders are sending FB Jamize Olawale to the #Cowboys, sources say. Dallas has its fullback, one who was with Oakland since 2012.

To facilitate the trade, the Cowboys will send their fifth-round pick (173rd overall) to the Raiders for their sixth-round pick (192nd), moving back just 19 spots.

In return, Dallas not only brings in a veteran replacement at FB but a player they already know.

Jamize Olawale was an undrafted rookie free agent of the Cowboys in 2012. Despite a strong showing in that preseason, Dallas did not have room for him on the roster. He was on the team's practice squad until December, when Oakland poached him.

Since then, Olawale has been a regular roleplayer in the Raiders' offense. He's missed just six games since 2013.

Jamize brings more offensive firepower to the FB position than Keith Smith had. He's scored at least one touchdown in each of the last three seasons. He can be effective both running and receiving.

Through the trade, Dallas picks up the final year of Olawale's current contract. It calls for a $1.5 million base salary in 2018.

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Player News

Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for 2018

Sean Martin



Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladoucer for 2018 1

Continuity is the key to good special teams play in the NFL. Already losing long-time Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia to the Raiders - who promptly snatched ST aces Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber in free agency - the Dallas Cowboys have announced their intentions to re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for the 2018 season.

Returning on a one-year deal, the fan favorite Ladouceur will be back to do what he does best in cleanly executing almost every special teams snap for Chris Jones or Dan Bailey to handle.

Todd Archer on Twitter

Long snapper L.P. Ladouceur will re-sign with the Cowboys on Monday, according to sources, on a one-year deal. He will be in his 14th season with the franchise. Only Jason Witten, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Bill Bates and Mark Tuinei will have more years of...

While Jones has improved as the Cowboys' punter with each passing season, Kicker Dan Bailey actually enters 2018 as another question mark on this unit. With the general belief around the team being that Bailey will be just fine moving forward, the Cowboys will no longer have to worry about who handles long snaps next year either.

Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladoucer for 2018

Dallas Cowboys LS L.P. Ladouceur

L.P. Ladouceur is back in the silver and blue, and in this moment, everything can be alright with the world.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for 2018" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Player News

Report: Raiders Sign Former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber

Kevin Brady



Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys Re-Sign Linebacker Kyle Wilber

A Free Agency period filled with departures continued for the Dallas Cowboys today, as the Oakland Raiders have reportedly signed the now-former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber.


The Raiders have signed LB Kyle Wilber:

Wilber has been with the Cowboys since 2012, and has played in all 16 games four of the past five seasons. Most of his time has come on special teams, but he did provide solid linebacker depth for the Cowboys since joining the team.

Dallas has now lost both Wilber and Anthony Hitchens, depleting their linebacker depth even further over the last couple weeks.

The Raiders have now signed two key special teams contributors for the Cowboys in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber this offseason. Hopefully Dallas can replace these types of "replacement level" players throughout the rest of the offseason, especially during the NFL Draft.

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