Detroit Lions Mock Draft: Round 2
On to round two of our Detroit Lions mock draft, and we’re going right back to the well with Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins. If you read my initial mock, you may remember that I took Collins in that article as well. There is no way I’m passing on him here to “be different.” Collins is one of my top-3 favorite defensive prospects in this draft class, and linebacker is a position that needs immediate attention for the Lions.
Standing at 6-foot-4 and weighing 260 pounds, Collins has excellent size, speed, football intelligence, and versatility to be an NFL starter on day one. In his four-year colligate career, he was the winner of the Bronco Nagurski Trophy, which is awarded to the nation’s best defensive player.
If you go back and watch the Tulsa game film, you will see Collins having an impact on nearly every defensive play. He is great in space, defending the pass, rushing the passer, and just making tackles. Falling to Detroit at No. 41 overall in the second round is an absolute blessing.
He’s on the board, and we’re making the pick!
Having addressed the initial major concerns on defense, we have to jump across the line of scrimmage and take care of some other concerns with our inherited second-round pick. One of those concerns is that I don’t hear people talking about enough — the offensive line.
Drafting lineman is never flashy, but I can promise you that you can’t win without them. In 2020, Detroit’s offensive line ranked roughly mid-pack amongst NFL teams according to PFF, but with the direction the team appears to be headed under new head coach Dan Campbell, adding some much-needed physical big men will pay dividends.
As a player, the tools are there to be an impact player in this league. He’s aggressive, strong, and over-powering against defenders. He has a big frame at 6-foot-5, 312 pounds, and usually has no issues pushing defensive lineman around.
At times, he has struggled against defenders that take a wider approach when pass-rushing. Still, if he can adapt and improve his lower-body flexibility, those occasional issues may become less frequent.
To began his career, I’ve been seeing him recommended as a guard by many analysts but could eventually make it as a starter at the NFL level as a tackle. We need a player with Leatherwood’s attributes to protect Jared Goff and open holes for D’Andre Swift to run the ball next year and for the many years to come.