Zaven Collins is Cardinals' biggest winner following NFL Draft

New England Patriots v Arizona Cardinals
New England Patriots v Arizona Cardinals / Norm Hall/GettyImages

The NFL Draft is an exciting time for NFL teams, general managers, and most of all, the fans. Future talent is being added at pressing needs and this is the biggest step in the right direction towards the start of the season. However, it is also a time of concern for many current players on teams. Each year, predictions are made as to who could be replaced, traded, or even released based on what a team does in or before the draft.

For example, once the Chicago Bears officially landed the first overall pick (which originally belonged to the Carolina Panthers), the writing was on the wall for quarterback Justin Fields. There was almost no chance that the Bears would pass on their now franchise quarterback in Caleb Williams. Fields now finds himself in a backup role to Russell Wilson for the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

When it comes to the Arizona Cardinals, one player that should have been paying attention to see what Monti Ossenfort would do is linebacker Zaven Collins. The Cardinals drafted Collins in 2021 in the first round and has only had one solid year of production in 2022. When the new coaching staff came in last season, Collins played more on the outside in the defensive scheme and showed signs of promise. He would end last season with 3.5 sacks and 41 total tackles (which compared to his season prior of 100 is a big decline). 

The Cardinals have until May 2nd to pick up the fifth-year option on Collins’ contract. If Arizona does pick up Collins’ fifth-year option, it will be a $13.2 million commitment by the Cardinals. However, we do not have a clear answer as to what Ossenfort will decide to do because for the first time since 2019, the Cardinals did not draft a linebacker.

This has to be great news for Collins, as it shows a little bit of promise that the front office and coaching staff believe that Collins can keep growing as a player for their defense. Although, a $13.2 million commitment is a decent amount to give to a guy who has not been a star up to this point in his career. We will have to watch closely to see what the Cardinals do with Collins’ future in Arizona.