Be honest. When the 2018 NFL season got underway, how many Tennessee Titans fans would have guessed that, by the time we got to the NFL Draft in 2021, that we’d be debating about whether or not the best linebacker in the country was from the state of Oklahoma?
Now, while that may not be the most farfetched idea, even had we allowed ourselves to believe that we probably would have thought we’d be talking about someone from the Sooners or the Oklahoma State Cowboys. No, instead, we’re talking about the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes.
Sure, wide receivers, cornerbacks, and edge rushers have been among the most discussed topics among the Titans faithful as we near the annual selection meeting, but there’s a linebacker whose name has been getting more mention in relation to the Titans, and yes, he cut his teeth at Tulsa with those Golden Hurricanes. Meet Zaven Collins if you haven’t already.
Did you see what the Tennessee Titans G.M. did?
Here’s something of note if you missed it. Right at the beginning of April, Tulsa held its Pro Day. A clip of Titans general manager Jon Robinson working out with the six-foot-four, 260-pound linebacker began making its way around Twitter. Here’s that clip if you missed it.
You know how these things go if you’ve been watching the NFL long enough. Just like that, the questions began about whether or not Collins was someone Tennessee was eyeing. If he is, he wouldn’t be a bad option.
Despite the need for help at corner, wideout, and on the defensive edge, there’s that theory about taking the best player available. If Collins is still on the board come the 22nd selection, you have to wonder if he’s someone the Titans can ignore. He’s definitely a part of their thought process.
Here are a few numbers if you’re a Tennessee Titans fan.
In 32 games at the collegiate level, Collins racked up 236 total tackles. That includes 25 stops that resulted in a loss of yardage. Add that to 7.5 sacks, five interceptions, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, eight pass breakups, and two defensive touchdowns. With that being said, you can see why he’s viewed as being one of the top linebackers in the country.
Now, there will be questions about his top-end speed. There are also theories that suggest Micah Parsons and Jamin Davis outrank Collins as the top two players in this class at the linebacker position. That’s also reasonable.
Still, when it’s all said and done, this all comes down to two factors if you’re a Titans fan. Does team need outweigh taking the best player available? None of us will know how things play out until the first night of the draft, but Collins is truly an intriguing prospect. He’ll serve his team well at the next level. The question is whether or not we need to throw the Titans on the list of interested parties.