He’s not mentioned in the same breath as Nakobe Dean and Devon Lloyd, but Chad Muma certainly feels like he would be a good second-round consolation prize for any team in the 2022 NFL Draft, maybe even the Eagles.
The Wyoming linebacker dominated the position during his collegiate career and became a vocal leader for the Cowboys’ defense.
It is certainly difficult to make tackles and interceptions as a linebacker, but Muma is also battling a real-life medical issue – Type 1 Diabetes.
He continuously monitors his glucose levels with an insulin pump at practice and tests his blood sugar about halfway through them. During games, he tests himself after each quarter and has, at times, given himself insulin shots when those numbers come up below what they are supposed to be.
“I was diagnosed when I was 13 years old, so I’ve had a lot of time to really learn and see how my body reacts,” Muma told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine last week.
Muma will join Baltimore Raven tight end Mark Andrews as a player in the league with diabetes.
Despite thinking his football dream was over before it started as a young kid, doctors never directly told Muma that the disease would prohibit him from playing the game he loves.
“As a young kid when I first got diagnosed, my first thought was, man, I’m not going to be able to play sports anymore or go play college football, but I learned quickly that’s not the case at all, and I never really had a doctor say I couldn’t do it,” Muma said.
“It’s more so being really disciplined with what you put into your body and making sure you’re staying on top of it and having a good A1C, so you’re able to go do all of these things that most people don’t have to worry about what they’re eating all the time.”
Teams did their homework on Muma’s diabetes at the combine, but the linebacker stated those meetings went very well, and every team felt good about it.
Wyoming has churned out some NFL stars in Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen and Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson. Muma looks to continue the tradition and still keeps tabs with Wilson, soaking in his advice as he prepares for his shot in the league.
“As a younger athlete there, it was a lot of learning for me and a lot of teaching for [Wilson],” Muma said. “He was always great about, if I had any questions, he could really tell me what to do, and he really helped me develop my game in all aspects, whether it’s in the film room or on the field or a certain technique.
“I took a lot from him and was able to learn from him and take some of the things that worked for me and put them in my own game.”
Muma is ideal for what the league seeks in the modern-day linebacker.
He can fill in at either the MIKE or at weak-side linebacker and has shown steady improvement in his overall coverage skills with year-to-year experience.
According to Pro Football Focus, Muma allowed 25 receptions for 278 yards and a touchdown, though quarterbacks had a 78.5 rating when targeted the linebacker in addition to his three interceptions on the season in 2021.
He believes he can play the middle or the off-the-ball, depending on what his next coaching staff has in mind for him.
“That’s something I want to embrace, really. I think I’m trying to really showcase that in my interviews, that I’m the type of player who can be a green dot player and be on the field for all the downs and make the calls and make the checks and do everything you have to as a green dot player,” Muma said.
His personality and the way he has carried himself since the Senior Bowl gives off an alpha mentality.
Philadelphia hasn’t possessed that caliber of a linebacker in ages, and the Wyoming linebacker would be an ideal fit.
One area the Eagles need to improve is their run defense. There’s a case to be made that Muma is the best-run defender of all the linebackers in the 2022 class. The Wyoming linebacker is coming off a 91.1 grade by PFF against the run this last season.
“If you watch one of my games, you will see a physical player who is running all over the field. Whether it’s an outside run or inside zone, I’m there trying to make a play on the ball,” said Muma, describing his style of play.
“Dropping back into coverage, communicating with all my players around me, communicating the defense, communicating what I see, and just being a leader out there as well.”
The Eagles’ reputation may proceed then when it comes to spending first-round picks on linebackers. The team hasn’t taken one on day two of the draft since Jordan Hicks in 2015.
Projections have Muma going in the second round and would be an excellent compromise for Howie Roseman. The pick would allow the general manager to stick to his philosophy while providing Jonathan Gannon with the style of linebacker he needs.
“I’ve always had such a love for the game of football,,” said Muma, who also played safety in his past, “and I’m always trying to expand my knowledge on football, so I think that’s what kind of drives [my football intelligence]†
Conor Myles covers the Philadelphia Eagles for SI.com‘s Eagle Maven and co-hosts the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast on Bleav Podcast Network. Reach Conor at ConorMylesSI@gmail.com or Twitter: @ConorMylesSI
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.