DT Maliek Collins explains why he chose the Texans

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Maliek Collins presumably could have had gone anywhere in 2021. Instead, the former Dallas Cowboy and Las Vegas Raider decided to sign with an AFC South club amid discord with its franchise quarterback and ushering in a new coaching regime.

The former 2016 fourth-round pick from Nebraska was looking for an opportunity, and the Texans presented the best chance for the 26-year-old.

“I just needed an opportunity and I thought it was a great opportunity for a team trying to build a team with a fresh start,” Collins told Aaron Wilson of Sports Talk 790. “And, quite honestly, I needed a fresh start, too, so it was the best place I could have picked. Of course being back in Texas is good. I still live up in Dallas, so I’m good.”

Collins, who stands at 6-2, 308 pounds, figures to be a three-technique defensive tackle in the Texans’ new scheme, a Tampa 2, the signature of defensive coordinator Lovie Smith.

In his lone season with the Raiders, Collins provided 15 combined tackles and a quarterback hit in 12 games, 11 of which he started. The production represented a down year for Collins.

“I just didn’t put out no numbers,” Collins said. “It just wasn’t a big statistical year for me. I’ll bounce back.”

With the Cowboys, Collins produced 14.5 sacks, 84 combined tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 40 quarterback hits, a forced fumble, and five fumble recoveries through 61 career games, 55 of which he started.

Houston has Ross Blacklock and Brandon Dunn that can play defensive tackle. Charles Omenihu also figures to be part of the Texans’ solutions at defensive tackle with his ability to play inside and outside.

After the Texans’ eight-week offseason program, defensive line coach Bobby King said that Collins was living up to expectations.

“He’s as advertised as a person and as a player so far,” King told reporters on June 8 on a Zoom call. “I’m excited to work with him. Yes, he does have some juice and I’m expecting some good things out of him.”

The Texans report to camp on July 27.