By Adam Aniba
This year's linebacker class boasts talent from round 1 thru Day 3. One particular linebacker had one of the best statistical seasons of his career and could have a significant impact on the next level.
Wyoming linebacker Chad Muma was a Butkus Award finalist, following in the footsteps of former teammate Logan Wilson and looked absolutely dominate in '21.
6'3" 239 lbs | LB | Wyoming
Draft Proj Mid 2nd-3rd Rd
Career (33 games) 266 tak (145 solo), 19 TFL, 3 ints, 2 PD, 5.5 sacks, 1 FF, 2 FR & 2 TD
'21 (13 games) 142 tak (44 solo), 8 TFL, 3 ints with 5 PD 1.5 sacks & 1 FR
Muma attended Legend HS in Lone Tree, CO as a 3-Star recruit where he played defensive back and linebacker. In Muma's senior season he missed half the year due to a torn patella injury, but still registered 77 tackles and 8 TFL's, earning 2nd-Team All-State Class 5A honors.
Muma had interest from Colorado State, Hawaii Nevada and Wyomimg. He chose to follow in his father Ty Muma's footsteps, who played for Wyoming in the early 90's. Muma was a special teams standout during his freshman season with the Cowboys, but his role would soon change.
The following season, Muma would get a chance to contribute on defense, finishing 6th on the team with 51 tackles (3 TFL & 1 sack). Every season after that, Muma continued to ascend. His ability to attack downhill as a sideline-to-sideline linebacker, garnered national recognition as one of the nations better linebackers.
in '20, Muma ranked #2 in the Mountain West conference and 6th in the nation with 11.8 tackles per game. His production only went up from there, ranking #1 in total tackles and solo tackles in the nation in '21, in addition to ranking 4th nationally with 10.9 tackles per game.
Muma's improvement every season is testament to his hard work and potential ceiling. The strides he made in coverage were obvious last season, with only 1 touchdown allowed in coverage. His ability to drop into coverage and disrupt passing lanes, led to 5 passes defended and his 3 picks were also a personal best.
Muma was moved around during his time at Wyoming, playing outside linebacker, but also significant snaps at the coveted MIKE linebacker spot. The Wyoming linebacker can get caught reading & reacting when lined up in the middle, rather than just attacking the ball.
One thing is for sure, he can absolutely lay the wood at the point of attack. Muma is the ultimate competitor and seems at his best in late game crunch time situations, which is when his leadership and situational awareness is on full display.
As mentioned, Muma's strides in coverage led to an uptick in passes defended and turnovers forced. He still has a long way to go in man coverage/nuances of zone schemes and will face elite talent on a weekly basis next season. In saying that, Muma's overall football IQ, athletic traits and ability to process the field should lead to a long career in the NFL.
Strong leadership qualities
Downhill tackler that displays textbook technique
Built to play OLB, but spent a lot of time at MLB calling adjustments
Impressive football IQ and was the signal caller for the Wyoming defense displaying advance pre-snap recognition
Coverage ability continues to improve, career season for defended passes and interceptions
Very good Upper-body strength (27 combine bench reps)
Needs refinement on counter moves/hand usage when facing tight ends and offensive lineman
Plays a bit upright and needs to lower his base to maintain balance
Needs a better attack plan when blitzing, tendency to get stonewalled
Flipping his hips and redirecting in coverage needs refinement
Can be overaggressive in man coverage, susceptible to taking bad angles when attempting to mirror routes
Thin lower-base that will require more time in the weight room/Strength & Conditioning staff attention (minor concern)
Muma was a leader for the Cowboys defense and player others looked up to. His nonstop motor and ability to effectively support the run/drop into coverage, make him an ideal three down linebacker. His 4.63 forty yard dash time and overall measurables don't swing the pendulum for some evaluators, but his 40" vertical leap and field work stood out.
Muma is a cerebral linebacker who projects as a 4-3 base OLB on the next level. With work and patience, he also has the ceiling to be a starting MLB. The level of competition Muma was exposed to is notable and he'll face a significant talent jump on the next level.
The Cowboys linebacker projects as a Day 2 prospect and is just starting to figure out the nuances of being a coverage linebacker. A team with a stable front line and athletic supporting linebacker cast, would be a good fit for the overachieving linebacker
*Games Watched- 9/4 vs Montana St, 9/11 N.Illinois, 9/25 vs UConn, 10/9 vs Air Force, 10/16 vs Fresno St, 10/23 vs N.Mexico, 10/30 vs San Jose, 11/7 vs Col St, 11/12 vs Boise St, 11/20 Utah St, 11/27 vs Hawaii and 12/21 vs Kent St
*Team Fits- WAS, DAL, PHI, DET, HOU, JAX, LVR, LAR, NE, NYG, NYJ