Dallas Cowboys: Will this defender become a Pro Bowler in 2017?

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 26: Zach Zenner /

After posting a solid rookie season, will this Dallas Cowboys’ defender play well enough in 2017 to earn his first Pro Bowl nomination?

When thinking about the Dallas Cowboys’ 2016 draft class, the two names that likely come to mind are first round selection, running back Ezekiel Elliott, and quarterback Dak Prescott, who was famously a late fourth round selection.

On defense, the first name that likely pops into a fan’s head is second round selection, linebacker Jaylon Smith. Maybe it’s even fourth round pick defensive end Charles Tapper. Or possibly, a real steal of the Cowboys 2016 draft, sixth round cornerback Anthony Brown.

The point here is rarely do we think of third round selection Maliek Collins, the defensive tackle out of Nebraska. There are simply more famous names at more glorified positions. But the fact is Collins could be on the fringe of making the Pro Bowl himself. That is if one Cowboys insider’s prediction comes true.

"“This is a deep shot but give me Maliek Collins,” wrote Bryan Broaddus for DallasCowboys.com recently when ask which player could earn his first Pro Bowl nomination in 2017. “I like what I saw in his 14 starts last season and what he’s done working against Zack Martin in these practices. He’s playing with quickness and power and If he can somehow deliver 7 or 8 sacks – – I believe he has a chance. There’s a ton of ability and promise in that player.”"

Last offseason, Collins missed part of training camp due to a broken foot. Despite missing precious development time, the 21-year old appeared to be one of the Cowboys’ better defensive lineman last season. Collins posted 23 total tackles and he ranked second on the team in sacks with 5.0 in 2016.

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With a full offseason program under his belt, how much better could Maliek Collins be in 2017? One Cowboys insider believes it could led to his first Pro Bowl nod. And that level of play is certainly something Dallas desperately needs along their defensive line this year.