The Bucs could potentially look for some younger depth in their linebacker room this April
While on the surface, the Bucs inside linebacker room appears to be a strength of the defense, they do have some questions that will need answers.
Lavonte David is now 32 years old and Devin White has had an inconsistent career up to this point. Kevin Minter has been the team’s primary backup linebacker since 2019, but Minter is 31 years old and is currently still an unrestricted free agent.
With the long term uncertainty surrounding the position, the Bucs could look to add a young linebacker to the group in the upcoming NFL Draft.
This takes us to where our draft profiles continue today and it takes us to Wyoming linebacker Chad Muma.
CHAD MUMA’S COLLEGIATE CAREER
Muma was a three star recruit and chose to go to Wyoming where he progressed every year. During his freshman year, he played mostly special teams but continued to progress and eventually became a starter on the Wyoming defense in his Sophomore season.
His 2021 season was easily his best as he had 142 total tackles including 85 solo tackles. He was also an explosive player in his final season as he had 1.5 sacks and recorded 3 interceptions.
Muma’s numbers have increased in nearly every statistical category each season he has played. Even though his sack numbers from 2020 were higher than 2021, he improved in many other areas that NFL teams will certainly enjoy.
Muma’s play in 2021 earned him a spot as one of six finalists for the Butkus award, which is to recognize the top linebacker in college football. While Muma ended up not winning the award, just being a finalist is a great achievement in itself.
Chad Muma led all G5 LBs in PFF Grade in 2021 (90.3) pic.twitter.com/XG7k63pOac
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) February 15, 2022
PRO DAY AND SCOUTING COMBINE
Muma is listed at 6’3, 239 pounds and he participated in most of the drills at the NFL scouting combine, running a 4.63 40 yard dash time as well as 27 reps on the bench press, a 40 inch vertical jump as well as a 10’9 inch broad jump and both vertical and broad jumps ranked in the 98th percentile for linebackers. He also a 7.06 three cone drill as well as a 4.28 20 yard shuttle.
At his pro day, he did not do the 40 yard dash, bench press, vertical or broad jump but he did end up improving his unofficial times for the three cone and 28 yard shuttle. Muma recorded a 4.25 in the 20 yard shuttle and a 6.91 in the three cone drill.
More than 20 NFL teams showed up to Wyoming’s pro day and one of those teams was indeed the Bucs.
WHAT MUMA CAN DO FOR THE Bucs IN 2022
Right off the bat, Muma probably would not see a whole lot of playing time on defense as both Lavonte David and Devin White rarely come out of the game, but Muma could be valuable depth.
David missed five games last season with two separate injuries so it is not guarantee that David will be healthy for all 17 games this season. If David were to miss time, Muma could come in and be a solid depth option.
Muma’s real value in 2022 could come on special teams, which he has a lot of experience with doing. The Bucs prioritized getting special teams contributors in last year’s draft with the selections of K.J. Britt and Grant Stuard, so it would not be a surprise to see them grab another player that can help out in that area.
The positive thing about Muma not having to contribute much on defense in 2022 is that he is consistently viewed as a player who could become a solid player, but would be best served sitting a year or two and developing behind guys like Lavonte David and Devin White.
As previously mentioned, David’s age and contract status makes his long term future with the team a bit more complicated and Muma could eventually be the other starting linebacker alongside Devin White. Tampa Bay really does not have many answers for the linebacker position if/when Lavonte David moves on and Muma could be the guy that could essentially be waiting in the wings to take over once David is no longer in the fold.
Throughout the draft process, Muma has consistently been considered a potential day two pick this April. The Draft Network consensus was a third round valuation and many of their writers had him either with a second or third round grade.
Since the Bucs are selecting later in the draft, their second round pick (60th overall) could be considered essentially an early third round pick and they could have their eyes on Muma in that spot. After that, their next pick is not until 91 overall and it is unlikely that Muma would be available at that point. If the Bucs want the Wyoming linebacker, they will likely have to select him with their second pick in this year’s draft.
ON THE CLOCK
Alright Bucs Nation, it is time for you to make the decision. Picking a linebacker early has not been a very popular or common idea among people who follow the Bucs, but it could be something the team could do with an eye toward the future, even in win now mode. Would Muma be worth taking? Let us know your thoughts by voting in the poll below.