With the initial craze of free agency now behind us, it is time to look forward to the 2022 NFL Draft. The Baltimore Ravens currently have 10 picks, including the No. 14 overall pick — their highest since drafting All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley with the No. 6 overall pick in 2016.
The team has several needs on defense, in their secondary as well as in the front seven. While inside linebacker isn’t as dire of a need as cornerback and edge defender, it is an underrated strength in this draft class and should be addressed nonetheless.
The Ravens brought back veteran Josh Bynes, have a rich history of unearthing undrafted gems at the position and still have Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison heading into just their third years in the league. However, a prospect like Wyoming’s Chad Muma would not only improve their depth but also give them an eventual starter and potential upgrade at MIKE that would allow Patrick Queen to continue thriving at WILL.
The former Cowboy is one of the most athletic and promising prospects at the position in this year’s class and could prove to be a day two steal in short order. He’s drawn comparisons to his former college teammate and current standout for the Cincinnati Bengals, Logan Wilson, during the pre-draft process after his breakout senior season.
In 2021, Muma finished second in the nation in total tackles with 142 and was a finalist for the Butkus Award given to the top linebacker in the country. He also recorded eight tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, three interceptions, two touchdowns and one fumble recovery. His 90.3 overall grade from Pro Football Focus was the highest of all Group of Five linebackers last season.
Muma has the speed, length, explosion and lateral agility to fly around and make plays all over the field from sideline to sideline, in both the running and passing game. He possess a high football IQ and even though some view him as a “see ball get ball” defender, he has shown the ability and proclivity to quickly read, diagnose and snuff out plays before they have time develop.
Chad Muma is fluid in space. Comfortably drops and closes on the RB in the flat! pic.twitter.com/BrjQg2o0O3— Damian Parson (@DP_NFL) March 31, 2022
He is a fluid mover in space that covers a lot of ground in a hurry, although sometimes he showed a tendency to over pursue when scrapping over the top to make plays on ball carriers. Nevertheless, he was a form-tackling machine in college not just a big hitter, which is something the Ravens need more of throughout their defense.
He has a natural feel for quickly filling and shooting gaps in addition to slipping past or dipping under pulling guards to gobble up running backs in the backfield and around the line of scrimmage.
The natural ability to beat lineman to the spot, use his closing speed and athleticism to close on plays on the perimeter, and always coming to balance makes #Wyoming LB Chad Muma an easy projection to the NFL level.— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) April 1, 2022
You see all those things on display against Air Force. LB3. pic.twitter.com/2wz9wD82Mb
In the passing game, he has shown a comfortability for dropping into zones and reading the eyes of opposing quarterbacks before breaking on underneath routes and passing lanes. While Muma isn’t a converted safety like his close friend and former college running mate at linebacker in Wilson, he displayed the ability to make plays on the ball when in coverage of running backs and tight ends over the middle and downfield.
Finally got around to watching Chad Muma, would be an excellent pick in the early 3rd if available. It’s a convenient comp cause they went to the same college, but he’s a bigger faster Logan Wilson. Lvl of comp is probably the biggest thing dropping him to the 3rd as of RN. pic.twitter.com/bzMdC4ujbz— Cody Johnson (@FB_LoneStar) February 23, 2022
.@wyo_football LB Chad Muma with excellent coverage on Jeremy Ruckert down field. Was the one question about him coming in, his growth in man coverage scenarios, really physical throughout the route. pic.twitter.com/hZXDHM7tQC— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) February 2, 2022
As the clip above revealed, Muma attended and impressed at the 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl. The annual all-star game for the country’s top eligible upperclassman has been a hotbed for future Ravens seemingly every year since the team likes drafting mature players with a lot of experience at the college level and a ton of tape to examine. He could come in and immediately contribute in two of the three phases after showing he can make plays on special teams too.
Biggest thing about @wyo_football LB Chad Muma thru first two games is that he just keeps showing up making plays. This key blocked FG ended up being decisive points in 19-16 Week 1 victory. @chad_muma can get #TheDraftStartsInMOBILE™️#BestoftheBest https://t.co/fyWzpaNPWD pic.twitter.com/lIn4bHozQI— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) September 14, 2021
Muma started the pre-draft process slated to come off the board sometime on day three but after backing up stellar film with impressive athletic testing, it is clear that he possesses all the intangibles to develop into a modern NFL linebacker that never comes of the field. If drafted by the Ravens, it’d likely be in the third round or early fourth at the latest. He’d likely be a four-down player at best as a rookie with the potential to perhaps inherit green-dot—aka signal calling/relaying—responsibilities one day.