Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins is one of the more intriguing prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft. His size and physical abilities have always made him stand out in an otherwise underwhelming linebacker class. This past week on Pro Football Network’s Draft Insiders with Trey Wingo, I discussed Collins’ sudden weight gain and what it could mean. So, how much weight did Collins add and how did he do it? Here are the most recent news and rumors surrounding the situation.
Be sure to join PFN Chief NFL Analyst Trey Wingo and Chief Draft Analyst Tony Pauline every week on Draft Insiders as they break down all you need to know heading into the 2021 NFL Draft. Subscribe to our PFN YouTube channel and hit the notifications icon so you can tune in live every Wednesday at 9 PM ET.
Tulsa’s Zaven Collins and his surprising weight gain
Eyebrows were raised when Collins, the 13th-rated player on my 2021 NFL Draft big board, weighed 270 pounds during combine medicals. That weight was 11 pounds heavier than his pro day mark from earlier this month. So what’s the story?
It’s really not a big deal, to tell you the truth. Collins was a little shocked to tip the scales at 259 pounds during Tulsa’s Pro Day. He consistently weighed between 264 to 265 pounds during training in the lead-up to the Tulsa workout. The expectations of his training crew were that Collins would be over 260 pounds at his pro day.
After his successful pro day workout when he came in lighter than expected, it was admitted to me Collins relaxed a bit and enjoyed himself, as he should. The excessive steak-eating led to the 270 combine weigh-in, which was a surprise like the pro day mark, but in the other direction.
I’m told in recent days Collins has his weight back down under 265 pounds and has been holding steady.
Collins and his potential in the NFL
What can fans expect from Collins in the NFL? Here is my scouting report on the first-round prospect.
Positives: Explosive, game-impacting linebacker who was a three-year starter for Tulsa. Instinctive, breaks down well, and quickly locates the ball handler. Forceful up the field and plays with balance as well as body control. Gives effort defending the run and attacks assignments as well as opponents.
Big, strong, and defeats blocks to make the play. Easily gets back to playing balance off the initial block and quickly changes direction or alters his angle of attack without losing momentum. Terrific pass rusher who bends off the edge with speed. Explodes through gaps to penetrate the line of scrimmage. Very effective making plays in space, fluid moving laterally and shows speed in pursuit. Stays with assignments, possesses solid ball skills, and stands out in coverage.
Negatives: Not overly quick. Occasionally gets caught upfield and out of position.
Analysis: Collins is a game-impacting defender and one of the more understated prospects in this year’s draft. He’s not the small run-and-chase linebacker teams prefer these days. Rather, he’s a throwback of sorts, and possesses the size as well as speed to be a pass rusher as well as play in coverage. Collins is a true three-down defender who should quickly break into a starting lineup and comes with outstanding scheme versatility.
Want more 2021 NFL Draft prospect news? Want to do your own mock draft?
Dive into PFN’s Free NFL Mock Draft Simulator and test your own drafting acumen. Continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter (@PFN365) to stay in the loop on all things college football and the NFL Draft landscape.