Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther has overseen some dominant defensive players over his nearly two decades in the NFL.
Over his four seasons as the Cincinnati Bengals' defensive coordinator, Guenther got to work with two-time All-Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins on a daily basis. Atkins, who was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 2010s, reminds Guenther of one of the Raiders' offseason additions in free agency.
“I’ve been around Geno Atkins a long time in his career. Maliek reminds me a lot of Geno Atkins,” Guenther told reporters Thursday from Raiders training camp (h/t RaidersWire). “He might be our best acquisition of the offseason from what I’ve seen. He’s been tremendous. Obviously with (Raiders defensive line coach) Rod Marinelli here, he coached the defensive line in Dallas, he showed the guys what Rod is teaching them. He’s tremendous with the younger players, teaching them the techniques, he’s very fast, got his weight down, he’s in great shape. He is the prototypical three-technique that we’re looking for in this defense.”
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Collins joins Las Vegas after four years with the Dallas Cowboys, the organization that drafted him in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Collins finished 2019 with four sacks and 20 total tackles.
Atkins has made his money absolutely dominating the interior of the defensive line, something Collins excelled at during his time in Dallas. The Raiders got a strong rookie season from Maxx Crosby, but were in major need of an interior pass rush.
If Guenther already is impressed enough to compare Collins to a player who has accumulated three double-digit sack seasons over his career, Raiders fans should be eager for Collins to take the field in the silver and black.
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