Analyzing the most commonly mocked Saints’ 2021 NFL Draft prospects
Saints potential draft prospect: LB Zaven Collins
- Mock Draft Share: 8.12% (3rd)
- EDP Rank: 24th
- Draft Model Rank: 49th
I mentioned with Moehrig that the addition of a safety would allow for more dime packages, and would be a better use of their first-round pick than adding a linebacker. This leads us to Zaven Collins, who, as a linebacker prospect, is a high-quality player.
A three-year starter at Tulsa, he had 0.5 sacks and 0.5 interceptions per game this year, and although these statistics can be misleading and volatile, they do resemble his well-balanced skill set. He can make an impact as both a pass rusher or coverage player.
Obviously, the Saints are a team that prides themselves on overall versatility, and with a 6-foot-4, 260-pound frame and solid athleticism, Collins has all the makings of that type of player.
However, the positional value would certainly not be followed if he was the selection in the first round. Not only do linebackers not generally produce a lot of wins above replacement, but they also rank near the bottom in average annual salary.
In other words, it certainly is not a premium position, and with where the Saints are, they cannot afford to make luxury picks.
Collins is a productive player, but he certainly doesn’t supersede the limits of the position in terms of moving the needle, and for this reason, New Orleans should probably look elsewhere with this selection.