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Broncos roster review: Guard Netane Muti

2022 will be a critical season for determining the powerhouse Tongan-American’s future with the Broncos

DENVER BRONCOS VS LAS VEGAS RAIDERS, NFL Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Netane Muti faces some challenges as he enters his 3rd NFL season, but he’s no stranger to challenges. A powerhouse who knocked out 44 reps on the bench press at the 2020 NFL Combine, Muti fell to Denver at the 181st pick due to significant injury concerns. Having dealt with achilles and lisfranc injuries in back to back years in college, he had to rehab and learn before having any shot at playing at the NFL level.

After being inactive for most of his rookie season, Muti played significant snaps in 6 games in 2021 and made 3 starts. His power makes him an effective run blocker and his aggressive attitude is exactly what an NFL guard needs. But 4 sacks allowed on 317 snaps last season indicates that he’s had struggles in pass protection. To his credit, though, Muti has yet to be called for a penalty in the NFL.

#52 Netane Muti

Height: 6’3
Weight: 315 lbs
Experience: 2 years
College: Fresno State

Now he faces the uncertainty of trying carve out a place for himself in a new scheme, with a new coaching staff that will be changing things up along the offensive line.

How he fits with the Broncos in 2022

Muti’s 2022 season will likely boil down to this: Can he deliver the athleticism and mobility necessary to take a starting role in an outside zone-heavy blocking scheme? The competition to do so will certainly be stiff. Currently listed behind LG Dalton Risner on the depth chart, Muti will also have to compete with Quinn Meinerz, veteran Graham Glasgow, and perhaps even Lloyd Cushenberry III depending on how things work out.

Coach Hackett, when asked about Muti during OTAs, was upbeat about his work. “He can run. For a big man, he can run. I think that’s one exciting thing about that. He is very huge person, [and he is] able to get off the ball, run sideline to sideline and do the outside zone stuff. We know that he can get everything downhill, but I think to be able to show that he can do outside zone, too, has been something really good.”

In the end, it’s a question of fit and opportunity. For Muti, the fit is kind of a question on this new-look Broncos offense. Coach Hackett praising him is great to see, but it comes with the usual caveats regarding how coaches talk about their players. And with 3 qualified starting guards to compete with, opportunity is a big question as well. Muti has a steep hill to climb to claim a starting spot this summer.

Final Word

Muti can absolutely be a starting guard in the NFL. I’m just not sure that he’s the right guy with the right traits to end up doing that in Denver. With a lot of quality competition on the roster, the two most likely options for Muti in 2022 are probably to see spot play/spot starts like he did last season, or else potentially getting traded to a team in need of a quality power guard. Whatever happens, I think Muti has a better career ahead of him than the large majority of 6th round picks have. And I’m excited to see what he does.