2021 NFL Draft: 7-round Las Vegas Raiders mock draft brings major haul
With the 17th overall pick, the Las Vegas Raiders select Zaven Collins from the University of Tulsa. Collins was three-star recruit coming out of high school and was struggling to find Divison I offers but Tulsa took a chance on him and it paid off big time. After redshirting his first season, Collins burst on to the scene in 2018, starting 10 games for the Golden Hurricanes and was named a Freshman All-American.
He got better every year he was at Tulsa and finished his college career as one of the most decorated players in the country, being named the AAC Defensive Player of the Year, was First Team All-AAC and received the Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the best defensive player in the country. It has been a meteoric rise for Collins and it looks to continue at the next level.
Collins measures in at 6-4, 260lbs and put up some great numbers at his pro day including a 4.65 40, 35-inch vertical jump, 10’2″ broad jump, and 19 reps on the bench press. He has a rare combination of size and speed and would be a fit in every defensive scheme, including of course with the Raiders.
Linebacker is not a massive need for the Raiders but they need talent on the defense and if they are not able to grab Micah Parson, then Zaven Collins would make a great consolation prize. He has the size and speed to match up with tight ends in coverage and has some incredible statistics over the year. In 31 starts, Collins recorded 244 tackles, 30 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, and 5 interceptions.
There are concerns that he may not have played against the best competition in the AAC but plenty of great pros have come from that conference in recent years and the Raiders didn’t mind the competition when they picked Khalil Mack in the top-5. Collins has a chance to be a special player in the NFL and could instantly improve the Raiders’ defense if they select him.