Zaven Collins is an American football linebacker for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Tulsa, where he was named a unanimous All-American and won several defensive players of the year awards in 2020. Collins was drafted by the Cardinals in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
After redshirting his first year at Tulsa in 2017, Collins played in 12 games and started 10 in 2018. He had 85 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and one interception. As a sophomore in 2019, he started all 12 games, recording 97 tackles and two sacks. Collins returned to Tulsa in 2020, where he was awarded the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Chuck Bednarik Award as the nation’s best defensive player, as well as the Lombardi Award.
Collins was selected by the Arizona Cardinals in the first round (16th overall) of the 2021 NFL Draft. He signed his four-year rookie contract, worth $14 million, on June 8, 2021.
Collins entered his rookie season in 2021 as a starting inside linebacker alongside Jordan Hicks and Isaiah Simmons. He was relegated to a backup role midway through the season, playing the third-most snaps of the inside linebackers. He finished the season with 25 tackles and three passes defended through 17 games and six starts.