Mel Kiper Jr. endorses Tulsa LB Zaven Collins as the Browns’ first-round projection

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Jeff Risdon
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Veteran ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. held a conference call with reporters on Monday to field questions on the 2021 NFL draft and various prospects. When it came to the Cleveland Browns, Kiper enthusiastically endorsed Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins as the best choice for the team at No. 26 overall.

“In the late first, if you stick with that pick, I do think Zaven Collins would be the best choice,” Kiper said Monday.

The words on the conference call back up what Kiper wrote in his most recent mock draft, where he also projected Collins to the Browns in the first round.

“Zaven Collins, I think it would be tough to pass him up,” Kiper stated. “He can play inside, outside. He had the one big game against Oklahoma State, where (three) of his sacks came. Other than that, though, he was making tackles all over the field, getting into the backfield. He wasn’t the sack artist, but he was a rangy guy.”

Later in the call, Kiper noted the depth of the pass rushing draft class, but also offered a cautionary tone about several of the players who might be in consideration for Cleveland.

“I do think any of the pass rushers you look at all come with some concern that gives you a little bit of a boom-bust question mark there,” Kiper said, noting Miami’s Greg Rousseau, Michigan’s Kwity Paye and Penn State’s Jayson Oweh, among others.

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