3. Chad Muma, linebacker
It's been nearly two years since the Jaguars chose to double-dip at linebacker in the draft. So far, the decision hasn't played out the way they expected. In case you forgot, they traded back into the first round to select Devin Lloyd after picking Travon Walker first overall. Two rounds later, they used another pick to take Chad Muma. In theory, the move made sense. Teams should never draft for a need and should instead go after the best player available.
If Muma had turned into a steady contributor, nobody would've batted an eye, but that hasn't turned out to be the case the past two seasons. Right off the bat, the coaching staff named the starter opposite Foyesade Oluokun despite the fact that he missed a good chunk of training camp with a hamstring injury. Not surprisingly, Lloyd eventually hit a rookie wall and was benched in favor of Chad Muma.
During his brief stint as a starter as a rookie, Muma flashed potential. However, he suffered a knee injury that paved the way for Lloyd to get back into the starting lineup. The following offseason, the coaching staff named Lloyd the starter. That was telling since they could've had both compete in training camp but opted not to. Once you see how Muma fared in 2023, the decision is easier to understand.
Lloyd missed a bit of time early in the 2023 season, which gave Muma a chance to shine. It didn't go well, as he struggled in coverage and run defense. To make matters worse, he missed 33 percent (three out of nine attempts) of his tackles in the two starts he made. That's simply too many. Not surprisingly, he spent most of the remainder of the year on the bench. But as much as he's struggled, he should get a clean slate under Nielsen.
Muma will get a chance to make an impression in training camp. And if he makes the most of his new chance, he should get more time regardless of the scheme the Jaguars run in 2024.