Name: Zaven Collins
Position: Linebacker / Edge-Rusher
Weight: 270 lbs (pro day)
Overall Rank: No. 32 overall
Position Rank: LB3/EDGE5
Strengths: The 2020 Bendarik and Nagurski Award winner, Zaven Collins wrecked defenses with four sacks, four interceptions and 11.5 tackles for a loss in just eight starts. He also took two of those interceptions back for touchdowns. His size and athleticism are rare and it has teams intrigued in just how many different ways he can be used at the next level. Collins has excellent range in zone drops and has the size to jam tight ends in-line and in the slot. His closing speed and burst allow him to jump routes and impact the passing game. He’s long enough with enough size to work off blockers and make plays on second effort. His best position is to be determined, but he has the tools to play in space and rush off the edge. He would have been amazing in a zone blitz defense.
Weaknesses: At 6’5” and 260 pounds, Collins is enormous for a modern linebacker. Even if asked to play 3-4 inside linebacker, his ability to drop his pads and take on blockers or make tackles in space will be tested. Collins is a massive prospect but can play small in the run game. He’s too often late to diagnose and must speed up his keys and processing. Collins has very good overall athleticism, but in space he at times looks lumbering and stiff. That could haunt him in pass coverage against NFL speed.
What I Love: Three-down threats are hard to find on defense and Collins is a big blank canvas of traits waiting to be developed. He could take some patience, but it’s hard to overlook his blend of tools and athleticism.
NFL Comparison: Anthony Barr
Position Specific Traits:
(key: +, ++, +++ positive scale | -, - -, - - - negative scale)
Athletic Ability: ++
Football IQ/Instincts: +
Pass Coverage: +++
Pass Rush: ++
Run Defense: ++
Ummm, Collins weighed way more than 234 at his pro day. Try 270.