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Cardinals' Kingsbury tabs Isaiah Simmons, Zaven Collins as 'prettiest linebacker duo'

5/17/2021 1:30:46 PM
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Wrapping up rookie minicamp on Friday, Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said it was fair to suppose Isaiah Simmons and Zaven Collins are the starting inside linebackers for 2021, Michael Baca of reports.

"They'll win the prettiest linebacker duo award when they line up side-by-side," Kingsbury said of Collins and Simmons, via the team website. "Those are two big, long, athletic cats."

Cardinals general manager Steve Keim compared the idea of Simmons and Collins up the middle as like having two big trees clogging the passing lanes.

"Two really fast trees," Kingsbury added.

A new-look Cardinals linebacking corps has been the expectation after they drafted Collins with the No. 16 overall pick, which led to the team giving Jordan Hicks permission to seek a trade a week later. Kingsbury said Hicks is "one of the most respected players on our team" and didn't want to expound on the situation any further. However, Friday's message was clear: the Cardinals are looking to start their last two first-round picks.

"We know there will be growing pains, two guys getting indoctrinated to the league," Kingsbury said. "But they are athletic enough to make up for some of the experience they don't have, and we're excited to grow with them and see what they can become together."

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