The 2016 Draft will forever be remembered in Dallas for two players: Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott.
Each could be a franchise player in their own right on any team, and together they just seem to shine even brighter.
Unfortunately, they shine so bright they tend to overshadow players who otherwise would be getting a whole lot of attention. Players like defensive tackle Maliek Collins.
The Cowboys' third-round pick and 67th overall, Collins is entering his second NFL season with considerable buzz. Even on a team with the aforementioned spotlight hogs.
Collins didn't just have a good rookie season, he had a great rookie season. It's hard to believe he's basically flown under the radar in terms of attention. Just look at his numbers:
Collins played 61.9 percent of the Cowboys' regular season defensive snaps, which was more than any other defensive lineman on the team. He recorded five sacks and forced a fumble while sacking quarterback Jameis Winston in a close fought 26-20 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Also, he accomplished all of that after breaking his foot during OTAs and missing almost the entirety of the spring and training camp.
Despite those numbers, the 22-year-old expects even more from himself.
“I never meet my own goals,” Collins said during mini-camp.“[My goal is to] be the best player I can be so that I always keep improving. That’s how I set my goals, I don’t really do it statistically. Then you’re out there chasing stats. The goal is to improve every day. If I’m not improving every day then I’m doing something wrong.”
Collins has taken to the "Three-Technique" tackle under defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli with gusto.
“The standards are basically written,” Collins explained. “Me being a three-technique, the standards are in the history books of what three-techniques have done in this system. I like to say that’s the standard. The people like John Randle, guys like Warren Sapp or [Keith] Millard, who started the system. [Anthony] McFarland, those types of players.”
Marinelli has a knack for getting the best out of his players, and it won't be hard to get Collins to aspire to that kind of greatness.
“You try to meet those standards,” Collins confirmed.
If he can, Cowboys fans will have three names from the 2016 draft memorized.
Source: DallasCowboys.com · Photo Credit: KEYSTONE PRESS