Houston Texans 2021 player profile: DT Maliek Collins

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Maliek Collins was once establishing himself as one of the league’s rising defensive linemen during his four-year stint with the Dallas Cowboys. He totaled 40 quarterback hits and 14.5 sacks in Dallas before a below-par season with the Raiders in 2020 resulted in the Houston Texans acquiring Collins for well below the market value.

As he enters his first season with the Texans, here’s how Collins can have a positive impact on the Texans’ defense while restoring his value around the league.

Rundown

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texans-sign-cowboys-raiders-maliek-collins

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Position: Defensive Tackle Age: 26 Height: 6-2 Weight: 310 lbs Hometown: Kansas City, Mo. High School: Kansas City Center High School College: Nebraska Draft: 2016, Third-round pick No. 67 Acquired: 2021 free agency

Profile

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There is an old saying that goes, "Everything is better in Texas." And perhaps, the classic slogan is also true for Collins. During his lone season outside of the Lone Star State, Collins battled injuries that sidelined him for four games and failed to record a sack with the Raiders. However, when Collins is placed in a position to succeed, he has the potential to improve what was arguably the league's worst defensive front in 2020. Under new defensive coordinator Lovie Smith, the Texans' defensive plan will rely heavily upon a 4-3 defense — a scheme Collins thrived in Dallas under Rod Marinelli. Collins' best attribute on the defensive front is his ability to get after the quarterback — which is something the Texans will be seeking after the roster overhauls on defense the past two years. A one-year deal in Houston could turn out to be the best-case scenario for Collins' career, as the lack of talent on Houston's defensive line could result in the Nebraska prodigy leading the Texans in sacks and QB hits next season. According to Pro Football Focus, Collins registered a pass-rush grade of 77.6 during his final season with the Cowboys in 2019. In 2020, his evaluation decreased to 57.6 as a member of the Raiders.

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