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Could Zaven Collins be part of our answer at LB?

Hogs Haven takes a look at 2021 NFL Draft prospects that could contribute to the WFT

NCAA Football: Tulsa at South Florida Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Zaven Collins, LB
School: Tulsa | Conference: American
College Experience: RS Junior | Age: 21
Height / Weight: 6’4” / 260 lbs
Projected Draft Status: Round 1-2
NFL Comparison: Anthony Barr

College Statistics

Player Overview

Originally a quarterback in high school, out of Hominy, OK, Collins also collected 91 tackles, 3 INTs, and fumble recovery playing linebacker/safety on defense his senior season. He was also the valedictorian of his high school class.

During his sophomore season, he started all 12 games, playing well enough to earn Second Team All-Conference honors. His junior season was a break-out year, posting 54 tackles, 11.5 TFLs, 4 sacks, 4 INTs (2 for TDs), 1 forced fumble, and 1 safety in 8 games. The linebacker was selected as the unanimous American Athletic Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year, becoming the first player in league history to earn unanimous player-of-the-year honors. Collins was also named to several First Team All-America teams, and was selected as the Bronco Nagurski Trophy and Chuck Bednarik Award winners, for the nation’s top defensive player. He was also named a runner up for the Dick Butkus Award winner, for the best LB in college football.


  • Scheme versatile. Can can play strong or weakside, as well as off the edge.
  • Superior athleticism for a big man.
  • Exhibits good range.
  • Has great instincts.
  • Very effective run defender.


  • Can be guilty of overcommitting on plays.
  • Occasionally has trouble disengaging from OL.
  • Still very raw, and needs to refine his handwork.
  • Has been a beneficiary of the strange, COVID-19 modified season.

Let’s See His Work

How He Would Fit

Collins is exactly the sort of player that the Ravens or Steelers usually draft in the first or second round, a difference-making linebacker who can punish running backs and be a disruptive force in the middle of the field for years. Understanding the reality that Micah Parsons, widely considered to be the best defensive player in the draft, likely won’t slip to us at number 19, someone like Collins could be an ideal fit for delivering some of that skillset. Even better, Collins doesn’t seem to have any of the character concerns that have swirled around Parsons over the last year or so.

Collins’ scheme versatility also seems like it would be an attractive trait to both Jack Del Rio and Coach Rivera. His ability to quickly shoot gaps could help improve the team’s run defense and add an additional pass rushing threat to an already menacing front. It will be interesting to see how Collins tests at the Combine, as those athleticism metrics could push his final draft position around by a round or so.


Would you consider spending a first round pick on Collins?

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