Cardinals first-round rookie Zaven Collins impresses in NFL preseason debut

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Cardinals linebacker Zaven Collins is making the step up from college football at Tulsa to the NFL, and in his first preseason game on Friday night he looked like he belonged.

Collins tackled Cowboys running back Tony Pollard for a two-yard loss on the second play from scrimmage, later added a quarterback hit, and looked very comfortable as the player making the defensive play calls.

“Yeah, I feel for the plays that we got we executed pretty efficiently as a defense,” Collins said, via the Arizona Republic. “Making that good play at the beginning was obviously a good start.”

Collins, Isaiah Simmons and Jordan Hicks played plenty together in three-linebacker sets.

“It was more than I thought it would be,” Collins said, via “I felt comfortable in our defense. There was great communication between the three of us.”

Collins won the Bronko Nagurski Award and Chuck Bednarik Award last season as the best defensive player in college football, and the Cardinals drafted him with the 16th overall pick. The expectations for him are high, and the Cardinals have to be happy with what they saw.