The Drive with Jody Oehler

The Drive with Jody Oehler

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Instant Reaction: Cards Select Zaven Collins

Steve Keim has a type. While it's immediately unclear exactly what position Zaven Collins will play, thats par for the course for Steve Keim and many of his first round picks.

I don't like this pick and its not about Zaven Collins the player. It's about positional value. Drafting his 4th hybrid/ILB in the last seven years, Steve Keim has not learned his lesson that he is not capable of singularly redefining positional norms in the NFL. Even if Keim nails the evaluation of Collins, a big IF given his draft track record, the impact isn't likely to justify choosing Collins over other prospects

Collins is big, strong and fast. His football instincts at linebacker are considerably more refined than Deone Bucannon, Haason Reddick and Isaiah Simmon's were when they were drafted. But he's still an ILB. The Cardinals infatuation with Simmons in last year's draft cost them a franchise tackle. Their obsessions this year may have cost them an ideal receiving complement to DeAndre Hopkins or a bona fide ball hawking safety in Trevon Moehrig.

Not to mention the Cardinals still don't know exactly what position, if any, Simmons can thrive in at the NFL level. Simmons showed a knack for making splash plays last season but he also showed a knack for getting picked on by opposing offenses if he was left to bake at any one spot on the field.

Much like we found out with Reddick and what we could find out with Simmons long term, Collins selection could only make sense long term if he's moved to OLB. But given the way the draft fell, why not take the top ranked OLB on your board instead of a player you're betting on succeeds after a position change?

Trading down is always easier in the abstract, it takes a player and a team motivated enough to move up but the Cardinals inability to add any picks to their weekend in a trade down feels like a failure.

Also, the fact this pick became so wildly known the morning of the NFL Draft reflects an inability for Steve Keim and the Cardinals to keep a poker face, which is not ideal.

Overall, an underwhelming night after an impressive NFL offseason.

1st Round Grade: C-

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