One of the best linebackers in the country has declared for the 2021 NFL Draft
At around noon on Thursday, Tulsa Golden Hurricanes linebacker declared for the 2021 NFL Draft after announcing his intentions to opt out of the Armed Forces Bowl via his Twitter account. This announcement comes days after Zaven Collins won the Bronko Nagurksi for the best defensive player in college football.
Collins was also a runner up for the Butkus award, which honors the nations best overall linebacker. However, Collins was beaten out by Notre Dame phenom Jeremiah Owusu Koramoah.
Collins enjoyed a production 2020 campaign for the Golden Hurricanes, in which he notched 54 total tackles, seven and a half tackles for a loss in addition to four sacks. But while the accolades and stats are nice, how does this relate to his 2021 NFL Draft outlook?
2021 NFL Draft Outlook
Collins has been a new riser in the 2021 NFL Draft, catching the eyes of many evaluators with his athleticism and quality instincts. This allows him to work from multiple alignments such as off-ball linebacker in a stacked position or seeing work from the edge. Collins is a natural mover in space, show good hip fluidity and ability to play sideline-to-sideline at a consistent rate.
While you’d like to see him improve his pass rushing skills in terms of his overall move set, this writer would still feel comfortable deploying him in pass rushing situations. Collins is tailor made for the today’s base 4-3, with the ability cover and drop in as a pass rusher in sub packages.
Collins will likely be vying for a top 50 bid, especially after the 2021 NFL Combine where he can fully display his athleticism for NFL Scouts. As of now, Collins looks to be the 185th player drafted from Tulsa, joining former teammates Trevis Gipson and Reggie Robinson II in the NFL.