Logan Wilson on Chad Muma: ‘He can definitely play at that level’
LARAMIE -- Logan Wilson was the first pick of the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft, selected No. 65 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals.
We all know how that turned out.
Fast forward two years and the Casper native was the starting middle linebacker in Super Bowl LVI. That afternoon in Los Angeles, Wilson led all tacklers with nine, including three for loss in a heartbreaking 23-20 loss to the Rams.
Oh, by the way, he did all of that with a fully torn labrum.
Wilson led the Bengals with 100 tackles and four interceptions during the regular season. During Cincinnati's improbable playoff run, he added 39 more stops, including stuffing 6-foot-3, 247-pound Tennessee running back Derrick Henry on a 4th and short. He also picked off Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill to seal the road victory in the Divisional round.
Wilson stopped by Wyoming's annual Pro Day Tuesday in Laramie. He was there to support his former teammates, mainly the guy who waited in the wings for two seasons behind him, Chad Muma.
He hopes all those stats and accolades above only prove selecting a linebacker from Wyoming is a safe bet -- if not a sure thing.
"I think with how I played could boost his stock," Wilson said. "If I can play at that level, he can definitely play at that level. I hope it does help. I think he could go even higher now because of it."
Make no mistake, Wilson wants that for Muma.
"Yeah, why not? I want the best for that kid. He's the man," he said with a smile.
Muma competed in just two drills at pro day. He did most of his heavy lifting in Indianapolis in early March where he wowed scouts and personnel at the NFL combine, benching 225 pounds 27 times -- the most of any linebacker -- and landed in the top four in vertical jump (40 inches) and in the long jump (10-foot-9).
The 6-foot-3, 239-pound Lone Tree, Colo., product competed in the 20-yard shuttle and three-cone drill in Laramie, reportedly landing times of 4.25 and 6.91, respectively. Those would have been top times for all linebackers tested in Indy.
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None of those numbers surprise Wilson, though admittedly he didn't get to focus on Muma's performance as much as he had hoped. After all, he's a popular guy around these parts.
"I don't think I even needed to watch him," he said. "You knew he was going to do good. You know, it's the type of kid he is."
Asked if he had any last-minute advice for Muma, Wilson said that actually came a couple of weeks ago -- get to 7,220 now.
"If you remember my pro day, you know how gassed I was," Wilson said. "That's because I was in California for two months. I said, 'dude, get out there before I did because (the elevation) kicks your butt. I think it caught him a little bit."
Muma, who has also been training in the Golden State since season's end, tallied 142 tackles during his final college campaign. That ranked him second in the country. He landed nearly 11 of those per game, which slid him into fourth overall. He averaged nearly a dozen an outing during the Cowboys' virus-shortened 2020 season, his first chance to take over the starting role.
Those comparisons are likely to follow these two for the rest of their careers.
Wilson is perfectly fine with that.
"Chad and I are very, very similar: players, character, everything," he said. "I've said it before, he just needed the opportunity. Once Cassh (Maluia) and I were gone, he could just take over. He took advantage of that."
Despite his breakout sophomore season in the NFL, one memory that will stick with most is the controversial defensive-holding penalty against Wilson on what turned out to be the game-winning drive for the Rams. On a 3rd-and-goal from the 8-yard line, Wilson was flagged while covering Cooper Kupp with just 1:47 left on the clock.
Three plays later, Matt Stafford found Kupp from a yard out to seal the victory.
What does Wilson think about that call nearly two months later?
"It is what it is," he said. "You know, everyone has asked me, 'how did you respond after that?' There's nothing I can do about it. It sucks. I don't agree with the call, but they have to make a split-second decision too to throw the thing. So, it's not like their job is easy, either."
CHAD MUMA NOTES:
Here is what nfl.com has to say about Muma ahead of the NFL Draft April 28-30:
"A high-cut linebacker, Muma has a nose for the football but his methodology for getting there will need an upgrade to earn NFL playing time. He falls prey to false steps and wasted motion at times. He has a see-ball, get-ball mentality and hunts runners with good build-up speed and an aggressive demeanor. Patience and leverage are below average when fitting up inside runs and flowing to outside runs. He needs to improve at slipping and taking on blocks if he's going to play inside. Muma profiles as a backup inside/strong-side linebacker with four-phase special teams talent that should lock him into a roster spot as a Day 3 selection."