Yet another well-regarded national mock draft has the Steelers selecting Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins with their first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein released his first full mock draft on Thursday, and has the Steelers picking Collins at No. 24 overall.
While the Steelers certainly have other needs, Zierlein doesn’t believe that general manager Kevin Colbert would pick a running back in that spot and most of the best offensive linemen were off the board in his scenario.
Zierlein’s projection goes hand-in-hand with one from ESPN’s Mel Kiper that was released on Jan. 26 and also has the Steelers taking Collins.
Collins is a 6-foot-4, 260-pounder that played outside linebacker in Tulsa’s 3-3-5 defense, but could suit up at either inside or outside linebacker in the Steelers’ 3-4.
He had a massive 2020 season, winning the Bronko Nagurski and Chuck Bednarik Awards and collecting 53 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, four sacks and four interceptions for the Golden Hurricanes.
The Steelers drafted outside linebacker Alex Highsmith in the third round last season and traded up to get inside linebacker Devin Bush in 2019. Fellow inside linebacker Vince Williams is entering the final season of his contract and just turned 31 years old.