SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

DT Maliek Collins excited to learn under Kris Kocurek, 49ers

Mar 21, 2024, 1:30 PM | Updated: 1:39 pm

Maliek Collins #96 of the Houston Texans walks off of the field against the Washington Commanders a...

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 20: Maliek Collins #96 of the Houston Texans walks off of the field against the Washington Commanders at NRG Stadium on November 20, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

(Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Fate has a funny way of working sometimes, with destiny pulling you towards a better situation. That can not be more true for Maliek Collins.

The newest 49ers defensive tackle was candid about the process of being traded from the Houston Texans to San Francisco, giving his account last week. While Collins was surprised, he was told it was a possibility by the Texans’ brass.

Ultimately he was dealt to the Red & Gold, the former employer of Texans coach DeMeco Ryans. And the first person to inform him: Ryans himself, appreciative of the transparency this offseason.

“That shows his character as a man that he would call and break that news to me himself,” Maliek Collisn told the Bay Area media.

As for the move itself, Collins couldn’t be happier, excited to be a member of the 49ers for many reasons. One of those being the atmosphere and fanbase, seeing how loud the Faithful get from afar.

“I mean, you can’t really dwell on anything, you just move forward. Everything happens for a reason,” he said. “I mean, being here, the love that you get, [how] the people embrace you. I think this is the best situation that could have possibly happen.”

On top of that, the Kansas native is excited to work with defensive line coach Kris Kocurek.

Maliek Collins has watched the 49ers’ coaching staff churn out quality DLs left and right over the years. Kocurek has received a majority of the credit for doing so, building a foundation with the 49ers that gets the most out of players.

Examples include Samson Ebukam, Charles Omenihu and Javon Kinlaw, to name a few.

Collins wants to be a part of that, excited to compete for an all-in coach like Kocurek.

“Just his passion that he brings to the game. He’s all about getting a [win], he wants to be the most productive defensive line and he wants to be No.1 in everything,” Collins said about his new coach. “That’s something that I want to come in, I want to contribute to, and I’m excited to be coached and coached hard…I’ve been waiting to be coached by him my whole life.”

The University of Nebraska alum has big shoes to fill on the Red & Gold’s D-Line, likely replacing Arik Armstead in the starting unit.

The 49ers’ long-time captain was released after nine seasons. He signed a three-year, $51 million deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars, leaving a massive hole that Collins will be tasked at helping fill. But at the end of the day, it’s almost impossible to replace the impact of Armstead, both on and off the field, for the 49ers.

“I don’t think you replace a player like Arik Armstead,” Collins stated. “The person that he is in the community, person he is on the field, I don’t think you replace that. I’m just here to add my skill set and bring what I bring, with who I am, to the table.”

And Collins brings a lot to the table, putting up 41 combined tackles and five sacks in 2023. Turning 29 by the start of next season, the best could be on the way for Maliek Collins with the 49ers.

Key offseason dates for the San Francisco 49ers

  • March 24-27 – Annual league meeting in Orlando
  • April 25-27 – 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit

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