Buffalo Bills 2021 NFL Draft Prospect to Know: LB Zaven Collins

TAMPA, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 23: Zaven Collins #23 of the Tulsa Golden Hurricane runs in a touchdown after intercepting a pass thrown by Noah Johnson #0 of the South Florida Bulls during the second half at Raymond James Stadium on October 23, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 23: Zaven Collins #23 of the Tulsa Golden Hurricane runs in a touchdown after intercepting a pass thrown by Noah Johnson #0 of the South Florida Bulls during the second half at Raymond James Stadium on October 23, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
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The Buffalo Bills added a number of linebackers this offseason but a player like Zaven Collins out of Tulsa could bring something a little different that they don’t have. Let’s take a look at his profile and how he could impact this defense with the Bills.

Measurables/Stats

Height: 6’5″

Weight: 259 pounds

Arms: 33 5/8″

Hands: 9 3/8″

Zaven Collins played in 32 games over three seasons for Tulsa and finished with 236 total tackles, 25 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks, five interceptions, eight passes defended, 3 forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries. He also had two defensive touchdowns, both this past season, as he returned interceptions for a score.

NFL.com Scouting Report by Lance Zierlein

"Combines rare size and athleticism as a big outside linebacker. Collins is a team-oriented defender willing to plug gaps and spill the action wide for teammates to run down. He’s rangy with the burst and length to track and capture his prey from the back side or out on the perimeter. His athletic gifts help him overcome his tardiness in diagnosing the action."

Highlights

How he fits with the Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills have typically looked for the smaller, quicker linebackers for their defensive scheme. While Collins is quick and does have good athleticism for his size, he is certainly far from being small. He is a player that could line up anywhere along the line of scrimmage, even potentially on the edge and rushing the passer.

The reason that I believe Zaven Collins could be a fit is that the coaching staff could use him similar to the way they did Lorenzo Alexander a few seasons ago. Alexander doesn’t necessarily fit the mold for a typical Bills linebacker in Sean McDermott’s defense but he would play around 40% of the snaps and be utilized as a pass rusher.

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If the Bills were to draft Zaven Collins, it would require a little bit of shift as they wouldn’t be able to operate as much out of the typical nickel defense. It would give them versatility with being able to play more 4-3 base but the question is if a rotational player makes sense for a first round pick, which is where Collins is expected to go. I don’t necessarily believe it maximizes value but he is a player that could be a fit for this defense.