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Cardinals add Zaven Collins with 16th pick

The Cardinals talked about the possibility of trading down in the first round, but they wound up staying put and making the 16th choice of the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday night.

They used the pick on linebacker Zaven Collins. PFT reported this week that Collins’ ceiling was the 16th overall selection and that the Cardinals were interested if other players on their board were gone.

Collins had 236 tackles, 25 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, and three interceptions while playing 32 games at Tulsa. He was a consensus All-American in 2020 and won the Lombardi Award, Bronko Nagurski trophy, and Chuck Bednarik Award.

It’s the second straight year that the Cardinals have taken a defensive player with their top pick. They took Isaiah Simmons a year ago and added J.J. Watt to a defense that also features Chandler Jones earlier this offseason.