Zaven Collins Draft Profile and Scouting Report

Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins is profiled in advance of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Name: Zaven Collins

School: Tulsa

Year: rJr

Position: Inside Linebacker

Measurements: 6’4, 260 lbs

 

STATS:

 

 

General Info:  Collins was rated as a 3 star inside linebacker coming out of high school in Hominy, Oklahoma. A 3 year starter for Tulsa, Collins culminated his career by winning the Chuck Bednarik Award, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, and the Lombardi Award, given to the best college football player, regardless of position, based on performance, leadership, character, and resiliency.

 

Position Skills:  Collins is a dynamic playmaker that played all 3 linebacker positions in Tulsa’s 3-3-5 alignment. A big, physical, player, Collins has shown great versatility in all phases of the game. He has great play recognition, often sniffing out screens and draws. He fills his gaps nicely in the run game, packing a punch when he has an opponent squared up, but he is also smart enough to recognize when a sure tackle needs to be made. He does not give up extra yardage while making a tackle, showing great play strength to stop a runner at contact.

He can sometimes be a little tentative picking and choosing his shot, but when he makes his decision, he is explosive to and through the ball carrier. His aggressiveness can sometimes lead to over running a play, but that is the exception rather than the norm. He has great start and stop ability.

Collins has great athleticism in which he uses in pass coverage. He consistently shows great awareness to the routes being run and where to be, oftentimes shutting down throwing lanes and getting his hands on passes. He has shown great hand-eye coordination, gaining multiple interceptions by tipping and staying with a pass to gather it in.

Collins also has shown the ability to line up at a typical edge position and rush the passer. While he does not own a large variety of pass rushing skills, he has shown the ability to dip his shoulder and accelerate through the tackle and get to the quarterback.

 

Fit with the Packers: Zaven Collins is a great fit for Green Bay. Depending on how new defensive coordinator Joe Barry prefers to deploy his linebackers, Collins fits the bill. He has the physicality to do everything you want from your inside linebacker, being physical in the box while having the fluidity and athleticism to cover in the passing game. He can also line up at outside linebacker, where some project him at the next level. He is strong enough to hold the edge immediately in the NFL and explosive enough to make an impact rushing the passer. Collins may well be in play at pick #29. He probably won’t run a blistering 40 yard dash, but his explosiveness and awareness more than make up for that. His athleticism is something the Packers haven’t had in the middle of the field in a long while.

 

 

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Comments (20)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
splitpea1's picture

February 19, 2021 at 07:57 pm

Nice job with the analysis. A lot to like here, especially the size and versatility. I seriously doubt he'll be available, though, by the time we get around to selecting. I would be pleasantly shocked if the Packers were both willing and able to make this pick. Miracles do happen once in a while....

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 19, 2021 at 08:25 pm

Collins is a guy to target,but he is moving up draft boards in the # 10-15 range.

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Stroh's picture

February 19, 2021 at 11:54 pm

If he's moving up that high, why bother targeting him? He'll be long gone and way out of reach! Might as well target Lawrence too!! Either way the Packers have premium positions they have a greater need at than ILB. Both OT and CB are more valuable and more of a need than an ILB. Not a chance!!

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HankScorpio's picture

February 20, 2021 at 03:08 am

Please, no more giving away later round picks to move up. Gute has used (3) 4ths to move up in round 1 for Savage and Love. That's 3 shots at a player that might be coming into his own now, when they stand to have some FA losses.

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 20, 2021 at 11:36 am

Not much to look at the last two drafts in the 4th round. Maybe a Tranquil at LB or benny snell RB. The rest not much different from the fifth round or sixth.

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HankScorpio's picture

February 20, 2021 at 03:17 am

The draft is very much like a NASCAR race. Ranking only matters on the last lap/draft day. And there might be some crazy last lap circumstance nobody sees coming that shakes up the order from what is expected by watching the early part play out.

I enjoy watching the full thing play out in both. But having watched both enough, I know not to take anything that happens early as definitive for what happens in the end.

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TheKanataThrilla's picture

February 19, 2021 at 08:31 pm

I would absolutely love if we were in the position to draft Zaven. The guy is a great combo of both athleticism and football smarts.

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stockholder's picture

February 19, 2021 at 10:12 pm

We just got rid of Kirksey for not being fast enough. & $$$ Great job, but he's just not fast enough for me to move around.

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KC Mack's picture

February 20, 2021 at 08:03 am

The Pack cut Kirksey bc he was a Pettine guy w too big a cap hit for the value he added to the position. They like the 2 younger guys they have there (younger, quicker, more instinctive) who both offer a higher ceiling than Kirksey and are less injury prone. This kid can be a run stuffer and get to the QB. He has the makings of a Levon Kirkland style ILB. He'd look great playing w Z, Gary, Clark, Watt, Martin or Barnes, etc...

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 20, 2021 at 11:39 am

He replaces P Smith and can cover better. He can go inside and play Edge. He can drop in the hook zones and stay with TEs. He can move around. Blue chip.

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stockholder's picture

February 21, 2021 at 08:55 am

Gary replaces P.Smith if it comes to that.

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html5's picture

February 20, 2021 at 12:40 am

thank you very much!
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murf7777's picture

February 20, 2021 at 08:45 am

If the Pack want an ILB I’d take Nick Bolton. Collins will have to find his role in the NFL as he is a bit of a tweener.

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mrtundra's picture

February 20, 2021 at 08:52 am

The Bolton and Collins type LBs may all be off the board, by the time the Packers pick. Will Gute want to trade up for a certain ILB?

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rstain99's picture

February 20, 2021 at 09:09 am

Smart really tough guy who the whole defense knows is running the operation. Sideline to sideline guy that stays on the field toughs it out. Gets in face of stupidity and corrects it. Rather not have a showboater that pats himself after every play. Like Jim Brown said act like you've been there. Nick Barnett was last good ILB we've had all biz, Another coach on the field guy, guess that asking for the moon drafting 29th.

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Leatherhead's picture

February 20, 2021 at 10:33 am

The Packers are not taking an ILB in the Top 100.

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Archie's picture

February 22, 2021 at 05:04 pm

A 3 down LB who can play inside and outside equally well - sign me up. Use R2/3 to get your CB/S and your DT. Some excellent S that can do it all available in this draft - would help with 3 deep secondary scheme.

The depth of this draft is at OT so that is where the Pack will likely go in R1.
CB/S is deep as well so that will figure next. Unless a R3 worthy DT is on the board, Pack could go in any direction in R3, including CB/S again.

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wildbill's picture

February 20, 2021 at 11:36 am

CB,OT, and DL rank as bigger needs than an ILB. Don’t get me wrong I would like getting this guy as we saw how effective the Bucs inside LBs were but they were only allowed to play as they did because the Bucs defensive line was so good. You win in the trenches.

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 21, 2021 at 03:23 pm

What if this guy ends up playing like Urlacher ?

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PatrickGB's picture

March 03, 2021 at 12:22 pm

He has played QB and TE in his past. So I think that he could cover and understand routes as a linebacker. He did have a good year in college (Butkus award) so I understand the interest. Yet I also know that the Packers don’t draft LBs in the first round. Maybe Barry changes that philosophy.

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