Zaven Collins Draft Profile
One guy who keeps coming up in first round conversations is Zaven Collins. Collins is a very good linebacker, but nothing really stands out to me about his game. At Tulsa, Collins was a weakside 4-3 linebacker and repped #23 like a badass! Collins is my fourth rated linebacker in this draft (so far) and I can see him being in the league for a long time due to his football IQ.
The first thing that stood out on film when watching Collins is his ability to read an offensive line. He was able to diagnose open lanes to blitz through and get either a tackle for loss or sack. Collins is very decisive in that aspect, which is why he had four sacks in eight games in his final season. Collins is athletic and thrives in zone coverage. I love his hustle and he does a great job at reading the quarterback’s eyes. In his junior year, Collins had four interceptions on the season and returned two of them to the house. As a pass rusher, Collins has a great speed rush. Against Oklahoma State, Collins had three sacks including one on eventual first round pick, Teven Jenkins. Overall Collins’ IQ and effort make him a first round pick, but that’s just a little higher than where I would draft him.
I don’t want my starting linebacker being seen on the floor buried under offensive lineman. In every game that I watched of Collins, he’d always end up getting pancaked at least once. That just kind of sets me off, he even got stiff armed by Cincinnati QB, Desmond Ridder. This is because he plays too high and a lack of strength. You want your linebackers to have a good low stance that lets them shed blocks easily. If Collins is consistently being taken out by the lead blocker that makes him a liability in the run game. I want to see Collins add some strength before he’s starting in the NFL.
While I’m not as high as everyone else is on Zaven Collins, it’s not like I don’t think he’s going to be a good player. I still have a second round grade on him and I understand why some teams view him as a first round talent. If you want to picture what type of player that Collins is, think of Kyle Van Noy. The Packers, Colts, and Browns could all benefit by adding Collins to their roster on day one. I don’t see top ten potential out of Collins, but I think he will be a good player in the league.
Eyes + IQ 8.5/10
Strength + Hands 4/8
Pass Rush 5.25/7
Man Coverage 3.75/5
Zone Coverage 4.75/5
Final Rating: 75
Pro Comparison: Kyle Van Noy
Team Fits: Packers, Colts, Browns
Draft Ranking: Mid - Late Second Round Pick
Draft Projection: Picked in the 20’s