The Irresistible Prospect: Why Zaven Collins May Trump An OT

Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins went from a partial D-II scholarship offer to a possible first round pick.

Collins, born in Tulsa, Okla., played at Hominy High School in Hominy, Okla. Collins played football and basketball, but was a star on the gridiron. He accounted for more than 7,000 yards from scrimmage and 86 touchdowns during his high school career, where he played quarterback and free safety.

Make your judgement on his highlights below; a position change did Colins good.

Collins eded his high school career as a two-star prospect with scholarship to Central Oklahoma. Not a full ride, but every cent counts. Collins was also a stellar student, his class valedictorian with a 4.0 GPA. A good student athlete at a D-II school seemed to be the probable future for Collins.

Yet he and his mother, Haley Collins, did not give up.

"We did everything we could," Haley Collins said during an interview with the Tulsa World. "I remember one week when we started off in Kansas at a camp. I drove on Thursday and all day Friday to two Texas camps, came back to Oklahoma on Saturday. I did everything just trying to get him recognized."

That path ended at the Tulsa University camp. The Hurricane's coach Phillip Montgomery had seen Collins play at a 7-on-7 tournament previously. While Collins' high school offensive numbers were good, Montgomery saw potential in his defensive talent at free safety.

"We brought him into camp with the mindset of, ‘I know you’re a quarterback and I know you’re a free safety, but we just want to look at you at a couple other spots while you’re here at camp and put you through some drills,’" Montgomery said.

The Collins' long journey had a successful end; Collins left that camp with a scholarship offer to Tulsa.

"It was big," Haley Collins said. "I couldn’t breathe. I knew what that meant. I will never forget that day. That was our day. … Coach Monty and Coach [Joseph Gillespie], I can’t thank them enough. I owe my life to them. They gave him a chance when nobody else would."

The chance Tulsa took on Collins paid off in a big way. Collins ended his college career with the following awards.

  • Lombardi Award (2020)
  • Bronko Nagurski Trophy (2020)
  • Chuck Bednarik Award (2020)
  • AAC Defensive Player of the Year (2020)
  • Unanimous All-American (2020)
  • First-team All-AAC (2020)
  • Second-team All-AAC (2019)
  • A hell of a resume for a player who not only changed positions, but only had one D-I offer.

    Now that his time at Tulsa is done, 32 teams hold his NFL future in their hands. Is there a future for Collins in Kansas City? This writer thinks there is, and that future could start at 31st overall in this year's draft.

    It is no secret that Kansas City needs an upgrade at offensive tackle. Yet, there is a chance that starter-quality tackles will all be gone by the time Kansas City picks. Do I want a reach on Liam Eichenburg or Spencer Brown? That would be an emphatic no.

    What is another position of need? EDGE is a hole for sure. While I would not be mad at Kiper's mock pick of OLB Jayson Oweh, it feels lackluster to me. I do not like Oweh's lack of sample size or production in 2020. Plus, I still look back on the Dee Ford selection with disdain, so I can be sour on EDGE prospects. Besides, I believe in Michael Danna (cue comments).

    The next need gets muddy, but it can be said that LB is next up. Enter Collins. Maybe, that is. There are 30 other teams picking before Kansas City, and it is not a certainty that Collins will be available. Just today, Chris Trapasso mocked him to the Giants. Not at 43rd overall, but at 11th overall. Absolutely mindblowing to me.

    Don't get me wrong, Collins can be that good to warrant the 11th pick. But, he is the 29th overall prospect, according to CBS NFL. Him sliding to 31st overall, barring a run on EDGE and LB prospects, is a very real possibility. I would rather Kansas City select a player that displays the natural talent and instincts that Collins does rather than reach on an injury-riddled offensive tackle. Yes, there are that many injury red flags this year.

    Collins measures at 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, putting him amongst the biggest in the NFL. His pro-day measurable were not shabby either.

    • 4.65 40
    • 4.36 shuttle
    • 35 vertical
    • 19 bench-press reps.

    What I enjoyed watching the most was Collins' 2020 film. While he produced the previous two years, Collins looked next level in 2020. There were great displays of awareness and game speed.

    Also, just running down a running back for a loss is always impressive.

    While Collins does look good shooting gaps, his play in coverage is a highlight too.

    One area that is a weakness for Collins is block shedding and using his hands to get off blocks. While coachable, is is undoubtedly a question mark.

    All in all though, Collins has similar traits to a previous Kansas City first-round selection, and these traits are going to make him a future star.

    Collins has an amazing story and displays talent on the field that makes you want him on your team. Tulsa realized that, and Kansas City should as well.

    This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.