Round 1 – 30th overall
LB Zaven Collins – Tulsa
At 30th overall the Buffalo Bills have a chance to get lucky and see some quality first-round talent fall to the later end of the round. In my mock draft simulation, there were a few notable names that the Bills could likely target in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. The most notable prospects available for this pick include linebacker Nick Bolton, linebacker Zaven Collins, offensive tackle Alijah Vera-Tucker, guard Wyatt Davis, and offensive tackle Teven Jenkins who the Bills recently met with.
For the purposes of this hypothetical, I focused on the linebacker position at 30th overall because this mock draft is being run on the assumption that the Buffalo Bills re-sign Daryl Williams before the draft. There is a solid argument to be made that the Bills should try to find a solid guard at 30th overall, like Wyatt Davis, but I felt that I could find a solid interior offensive lineman in the second round.
From there, the decision of which linebacker to select at 30th overall is between Nick Bolton from Missouri and Zaven Collins from Tulsa. Bolton is a very instinctual linebacker in both the run and pass game, but I feel like he is more of a traditional run-stopping middle linebacker. The Bills already have their middle linebacker in Tremaine Edmunds, and I would rather add a linebacker that compliments him at the second level. It was for this reason that I decided to select Zaven Collins with the Buffalo Bills first-round pick.
At 6’4 and 260 pounds, Collins is an intriguing linebacker prospect with unbelievable versatility. At his size, Collins is surprisingly athletic and illustrated that on multiple occasions during his 2020 season at Tulsa.
For instance, Collins has the ability to pass rush, drop into coverage, run stop at a high level, and most evidently flashed his athleticism on his two interception returns for touchdowns in 2020. Collins would be an exciting addition to the second level of the Buffalo Bills defense by pairing him with Tremaine Edmunds.