Arizona Cardinals: Zaven Collins has removed the bust label (for now)
Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Zaven Collins has been one of the brightest spots in an otherwise lost season for the team.
Zaven Collins isn’t just looking like a first round pick in 2022; he’s playing like someone selected in the top half of the first round of the NFL Draft. Collins, selected 16th overall in 2021, had an abysmal rookie season in which he barely saw the field, appearing in just 270 snaps.
Fast-forward to 2022, and Collins, despite pedestrian PFF Grades, is looking like the player the Arizona Cardinals thought they were getting. So far, he’s tied for the team lead with 27 solo tackles, second with 41 combined stops, two sacks, two quarterback hits, one forced fumble, and four tackles for loss.
While these numbers won’t get Collins into the Pro Bowl Games, they show his immense growth from Year 1 to Year 2, and a bright future in the desert regardless of what happens regarding the team’s coaching and front office situation. That said, you can expect Collins to stick around for any potential transition or rebuild.
Arizona Cardinals linebacker Zaven Collins will only get better
While Collins may never post elite numbers, he has at least shown to be a solid contributor capable of performing well in several trades, whether it’s stopping the run or going after the quarterback. He still struggles in pass coverage, however, allowing an 82.4% completion percentage and a 117.9 quarterback rating. However, I expect those numbers to improve in time.
He has also seen 362 snap counts in six games, cruising past last season’s total of just 270. The increased number of counts shows that defensive coordinator Vance Joseph has put immense trust in his second-year linebacker. And it’s something you should see evolve as the season wears on.
I highly doubt Collins will take over any games this year. But consistent production is all we need from the second year product from Tulsa. If he continues to play his role effectively, the more likely the Cardinals defense will continue to shine.
(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)