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Draft INSIGHT: Round 1 - LB Zaven Collins

Will Collins be a stand-up traditional linebacker or a fingers in the dirt Edge rusher?

Tulsa v South Florida Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos Von Miller and Lawrence Taylor of the New York Football Giants were listed as outside linebackers. Yet, neither rarely dropped back in coverage and in fact, they were pass rushing specialists. The same can be said for Tulsa’s Zaven Collins who could be the answer to the vacant left defensive end position. Collins is a freak of nature. Had 97 tackles in 2019 and 54 last year. He is a very good pass defending linebacker with explosive speed and can go sideline-to-sideline. Will be interesting to see if Browns GM Andrew Berry will want to bring in a guy like Collins since Anthony Walker was just signed in free agency plus the presence of last year’s rookie Jacob Phillips. Collins should be sitting in the first-round when the Browns are on the clock at Number 26.

Draft projection: mid to late first-round


College: Tulsa

Height: 6’-4”

Weight: 260 pounds

40-time: 4.8

Career Tackles: 236

Career Forced Fumbles: 3

Career Sacks: 7.5

Career Tackles for Loss: 25

Career starts: 32


  • Excellent in pass coverage especially tight ends
  • Instinctive in coverage
  • Bigger linebacker, but possesses quickness
  • Had four interceptions last year, two for TD’s
  • Dangerous and speedy edge rusher
  • Outstanding in run support with excellent pursuit
  • High-character guy
  • Covers a lot of ground
  • AAC Defensive Player-of-the-Year
  • Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner
  • Chuck Bednarik Award winner
  • Unanimous All-American


  • Needs to shed blocks from bigger offensive linemen
  • Not a physical presence
  • Raw talents
  • Good tackler, but not a crusher
  • Needs to recognize pass situations quicker
  • Played in a weaker conference which padded his stats

Expert Draft Site Analysis

Although blessed with upper-level athleticism, Collins’ advantage over the other athletes is vision. He possesses a multi-level vision. That is to say, by using sight and instincts, Collins immediately makes a decision in the play. Either he will meet or beat the ballcarrier. While he plays fast, Collins doesn’t look out of place or hurried in his pursuit. From blowing up screens to diagnosing the run, Collins will play all three downs at the next level.