Opinions are divided on whether the Jacksonville Jaguars should have taken Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker with the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Similarly, their decision to take Wyoming linebacker Chad Muma at No. 70 has earned mixed reviews.
Gary Davenport of Bleacher Report recently drew up a list of rookies that were drafted by the wrong team and Muma made the cut. Davenport thinks that taking the former Wyoming Cowboys in the third round wasn’t necessary when you consider that the Jaguars had already addressed the linebacker position, signing Foyesade Oluokun in free agency and the selection of Utah’s Devin Lloyd in the first round.
"But a Jaguars team with holes all over the roster doesn’t need to be spending Day 2 picks on special teamers. And unless Muma beats out Lloyd for the right to start next to Oluokun in camp (which would be a mess of another sort), he’s going to be doing a lot of watching in 2022. In somewhere like Denver, he’d likely be a Day 1 starter. In Jacksonville, he’ll most likely be a spectator."
Muma was one of the highest-graded linebacker prospects ahead of the draft, so it’s easy to see why the Jaguars took a chance on him. Projected to be drafted late in the first round or early in the second, general manager Trent Baalke got him in the third. During his last two seasons at Wyoming, he appeared in 19 games and logged 116 tackles, 16 tackles for a loss, 4.5 tackles, one forced fumble, and three interceptions (all of them in 2021). Moreover, he was B/R’s second-ranked off-linebacker.
The Jaguars need to figure out what they’ll do with LB Chad Muma.
There’s no doubt that this will be a polarizing pick throughout the offseason. On one hand, Baalke saw an opportunity and seized it. Muma has the talent to start from Day 1, so it’s a little puzzling that he slid all the way to the third round. Furthermore, he was the Jags’ best-value pick in a different B/R article. On the other hand, Jacksonville was already set at the position after signing Oluokun and drafting Lloyd.
Muma isn’t the kind of player you want to keep on the bench but it may be difficult to find him a spot in the Jaguars’ defense, at least in 2022. If you put him on the field, who do you take out? The team’s brass made a meaningful commitment to Oluokun in free agency and Lloyd will be given every chance to start by virtue of being a first-round selection. Josh Allen and Travon Walker will start outside, so Muma might only see the field in sub-packages.
Defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell has time to figure out where he will plug Muma in but it’s tough to envision him having a significant role barring any serious injuries to either Lloyd or Oluokun.
You could make the case that the Jaguars have a good problem at hand but they wouldn’t have one at all had they drafted someone else instead of Muma. The coaching staff still has plenty of time to find a suitable solution but he currently looks like an unnecessary luxury.