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Cowboys Draft Pick Profile: Defensive Tackle Maliek Collins

Lets take a deep dive into one of the Cowboys selections in the 2016 NFL draft.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Name: Maliek Collins
Position: Defensive Tackle
School: Nebraska
Height: 6’ 1 7/8 "
/ Weight: 311 LBs


Nebraska Team Captain

Second-Team All-Big Ten - Coaches, AP

Third-Team All-Big Ten - Media, Phil Steele

Lombardi, Outland, Nagurski, Bednarik Watch List

Academic All-Big Ten

Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll

Brook Berringer Citizenship Team

Tom Osborne Citizenship Team


Second-Team All-Big Ten - Coaches

Honorable-Mention All-Big Ten - Media

Athletic Profile

pSparq Score: 109.8 Z-Score: -0.1 NFL Percentile: 46.4

pSparq is an approximation of the "Sparq Score" metric invented by NIKE (with the help of former USC and current Seattle Seahawks Head Coach, Pete Carroll), designed as a way to standardize athletic testing of High School athletes and interpret their athleticism with a sport specific formula. By standardizing a single metric composed of multiple athletic test results, it becomes possible to compare players to the athletic testing scores of players in past draft classes, and to provide context as to how a player will compare athletically to his peers at the NFL level. The Z-Score represents the number of standard deviations (sigma) above or below the mean at a particular position that player falls, 84% of players will have a Z-score of less than 1, 98% will have a Z-score of less than 2, and 99.87% will fall below a Z-Score of 3. There are currently a total of four players who are "3 Sigma Athletes" in the NFL, JJ Watt, Byron Jones, Evan Mathis, and Lane Johnson. For more on pSparq,(and the man behind the math Zach Whitman) check out

Measurables vs others at his position:

Note: This spider graph provides a visual representation of a players’ measurable traits, and combine results.  The filled in area of the chart, as well as the number in the light grey circle represents the percentile among the player’s peers by position.  A score of 85 here represents that out of every 100 players at his position, the player has a better result in that test than 85 of those 100.

Games Studied: Wisconsin, UCLA, Iowa (2014).

Passing Game:

Maliek Collins played both the nose tackle and the under tackle in Nebraska’s four-man front, and was a very disruptive player for the Cornhuskers’ defense. He has a very quick first step and gets off the ball with explosion. He plays with a "credit card alignment" (close to the ball) and he gets into blockers immediately at the snap. Collins is a violent player with his hands and has a very good arm over move he uses to attack his gap and disrupt the pocket. Although he doesn’t always finish the play he is often the initial penetrator who either forces the quarterback to rush his throw or move off his spot.

Run Game:

On most occasions Collins’ quick first step, and violent hands carry over from the pass game to the run game allowing him to be the kind of player who shuts down run plays in the backfield with regularity. There are times, especially against down blocks, or when he gets doubled against a zone run scheme that he can get washed either down the line or lose ground which leaves some gaps for big runs. I feel like this could be remedied through more consistent pad-level and improved leverage.

Conclusion/Projection: By making him their third-round pick, the Cowboys clearly feel like Collins can be an important part of their rotation on the defensive front from day one. From my study, I am of the opinion that he will fit right in. He will be the second under tackle who relieves Tyrone Crawford occasionally, and joins him in passing situations where they use two under tackles. He could also see some snaps at the nose tackle spot, specifically against teams with centers who struggle with quickness, or are slower to get their snap hand up to start the play.

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