The Arizona Cardinals drafted a stud in Tulsa LB Zaven Collins after he fell to No.16 in the NFL draft. Zaven Collins will join 2020 1st round pick Isiah Simmons in the linebacker room. And Cardinals HC Kliff Kingsbury couldn’t be more excited about the duo.
Zaven Collins spent 3 years during his illustrious career at Tulsa. Even though he was the 4th defensive player of the board after fellow LB Micah Parsons and CB’s Patrick Surtain and Jaycee Horn, Collins was recognized as the best defensive player in college football in 2020, earning both the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Chuck Bednarik Award.
— NFL (@NFL) April 30, 2021
Heading into rookie minicamp, both HC Kliff Kingsbury and defensive coordinator Vance Joseph believe Zaven Collins to be an instant impact on the defence. The Tulsa alum will join Isiah Simmons as they take on Derrick Henry and the Titans in Week 1.
Kliff Kingsbury thinks he will have the prettiest LB duo.
“When they line up they’ll win the prettiest linebacker duo award when they line up side by side,” the head coach said Friday. “Those are two big, long, athletic cats. We know there’s going to be growing pains, obviously, two guys that are getting indoctrinated into the league.
“Isaiah played some last year, but as far as a full-time starter goes this will be his first run at it. But they’re athletic enough to make up for some of the experience they don’t have. We’re excited to grow with them and see what they can become together.”
Kliff Kingsbury confirms after @AZCardinals rookie mini-camp that he expects Zaven Collins and Isaiah Simmons to be starting ILB’s. Describes ’em as “two really fast trees.” pic.twitter.com/vnWrJCSqrG
— Paul Calvisi (@PaulCalvisi) May 14, 2021
Kliff Kingsbury also spoke about the Jordan Hicks situation.
Zaven Collins will in all likeliness replace veteran LB Jordan Hicks, who has allegedly been given the permission to seek a trade. But Kliff Kingsbury wouldn’t confirm the reports.
“I’m going to keep the conversations between Jordan and I private out of respect for him,” Kingsbury said, via the team’s website. “He knows how we feel about him. One of the most respected players on our team and has been a great leader here. Just kind of leave it at that.”
The Arizona Cardinals had a haul of new players join the team, including 3 time defensive player of the year J.J Watt. So Zaven Collins will definitely play a role as the team hope to make the playoffs in 2021.