The Dallas Cowboys weak spot for several years has been their pass rush. We examine why that may not be the case in 2017.
I don’t want to start this article with a blanket statement, however it is appropriate. Every Dallas Cowboys fan is concerned about the pass rush. In some capacity or another, that statement holds true across Cowboys Nation.
I’m not hear to say that concern is misguided. But, I believe there is a beacon of hope among the clouds of darkness surrounding the lucrative pass rush. The Cowboys have a player who has proven he can rush the passer in this league.
His name is Maliek Collins. The 2016 third round selection may fit owner and general manager Jerry Jones’ description of an edge rushing “war daddy”. Although, that has more to do with his position than his pass rushing acumen. Collins notched 5.0 sacks from his defensive tackle spot during his rookie season.
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While that isn’t exactly elite production, you have to keep in mind that he was a rookie. For comparisons sake, I researched some of the best defensive tackles rookie year sack numbers.
Haloti Ngata, the former Baltimore Raven turned Detroit Lion, turned in 1.0 sack. Finally, Aaron Donald, arguably the NFL’s best young interior defender, shined his rookie season with 9.0 sacks for the then-St. Louis Rams.
"“This is a real talented individual and I know [Collins is] going to be up there with the Aaron Donalds and all the good under tackles in the league that people talk about, a little more work with Marinelli and he’s going to be one of those unstoppable guys later on in his career.”"
"“[Collins] left an impression on me the first time I went against him in practice. He’s gotten better every day and takes coaching real well. I definitely see him being one of best three-techniques in this league.”"
Given the caliber of player that Leary is, that praise speaks volumes about the type of talent that Collins could develop into.
With a more threatening edge presence next year, Maliek Collins could very well take the leap and become a 10+ sack player next season. If he does, he’s certain to give opposing quarterbacks nightmares as he blasts through the interior of the front lines.
You can follow Jimmy on Twitter @JLongPass for more Cowboys thoughts and opinions. Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.