For the Arizona Cardinals and Zaven Collins, it hasn’t been the smoothest of relationships.
When Zaven Collins was drafted, questions of “Who, what, why”? rained out from fans of the Arizona Cardinals. Then, one year after taking a linebacker in the first round (Isaiah Simmons) in 2020, Steve Keim caused mass confusion when he selected his second-consecutive linebacker.
After not really playing in his rookie season of 2021, Collins’ standing with the team looks less secure than it once did. No, not even the cutting of Jordan Hicks makes that better. Collins recently had a press conference admitting that he had a bad bunch of practices that kept him from playing last year.
So it shouldn’t be too surprising that Collins was listed on NFL Spin Zone’s list of “Players who look like busts from the 2021 NFL Draft.” But is that ranking justified?
Arizona Cardinals’ Zaven Collins chosen as the third-biggest bust from the 2021 Draft class
Starting off in chronological order, Collins made a bold and near-cringe statement when he was drafted, stating to Arizona Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim that “We’re going to (expletive) kill everybody.”
Collins meant that on the field regarding the final score, but it reeked of Josh Rosen’s infamous “Nine mistakes” comment. But, then, Collins’ arrest put him further behind the eight ball. No matter where your opinion lies of the situation as a whole, it was a totally avoidable situation. It could’ve been fatal, like Henry Ruggs’ incident.
At the same time, the Cardinals chose to cut down on the number of OTA sessions they were having in 2021 and most likely caused Collins to struggle all season when it came to learning the playbook.
Collins did make some great plays in the preseason, including a big hit in the game against the Cowboys. So is Collins really the third-biggest draft bust?
Considering the players ahead of him are Tutu Atwell and Kadarius Toney, I’d say it’s a fair ranking. Of course, this will have a chance to change drastically this season for the better, but after looking at what we have to go off of, Collins still should not have been the pick.
Collins has struggled early on (like every rookie does), but the optics of the selection, followed by an underwhelming rookie season, has this writer going elsewhere at #16 in 2021.