ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Grossi has the Browns taking Tulsa’s Zaven Collins
To the casual Browns fan, Zaven Collins isn’t a surprise pick. That said, it’s was surprising to see ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Grossi mock Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins to Cleveland in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Grossi’s mock is posted at TheLandonDemand.com (subscription).
My bewilderment comes valid points Grossi has made about Collins in the recent past–mostly that defensive coordinator Joe Woods wants to deploy a two-linebacker, three-safety scheme.
A quick look at the linebacker room shows two linebackers on the rise in Jacob Phillips and Sione Takitaki. Takitaki is entering his third season, and while Phillips is only going into his second year, the Browns are reportedly high on the LSU product.
Then, there’s Mack Wilson. The Alabama product doesn’t grade out well, but he’s experienced.
So the question remains: Would the Browns entrust Collins to be a full-time player from day one? If they don’t feel this way, Andrew Berry would be burning a first-round pick on someone who will likely need time to adjust to being an every down player in the NFL.
And with the Browns window to really contend for a Super Bowl spanning the next two years, time is of the essence.
Collins is undoubtedly tantalizing, because he can cover, in addition to rushing the quarterback. Perhaps the Browns would take him. It seems unlikely, though. Not when the team needs a defensive end and a corner, two big-money positions analytics puts a higher emphasis on.
Other notes on Grossi’s Browns mock
1. In his first mock, Grossi had Northwestern corner Greg Newsome heading to Cleveland. This time around, Grossi mocked him to the Cardinals with the 16th pick.
2. Jaelen Phillips was mocked to the Browns in version 2.0, but goes 17th to the Raiders this time are und.
3. Grossi’s quarterback predictions remain unchanged, with Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson going first and second, respectively. Justin Field is still slotted to the Panthers at No. 8 while Mac Jones lands in the Patriots lap at No. 15.
Twitter scouts high on North Dakota State won’t like seeing Trey Lance going 20th, to the Bears.
4. After quarterbacks, Grossi’s mock gives way to a run on corners with Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II going to to Denver. I’ve seen Surtain going from mid-teens, to late first round to early second round during this silly season.
After Surtain, Virginia Tech’s Caleb Early goes to the Cowboys at No. 10, while South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn goes to the 49ers at NO. 12.
5. All of the edge rushers being mocked to the Browns at this point are gone in Grossi’s mock. Phillips went to the Vikings at No. 15. The U’s Gregory Rousseau went to the Raiders at No. 17 and Penn State’s Jayson Oweh was mocked to the Colts at No. 21.
6. For the second straight week, Grossi had Christian Barmore landing in Green Bay’s lap with the 29th pick. It’d be hard for me to pass him up, especially with Cleveland’s need on the defensive interior.