Broncos rookie Netane Muti shines in NFL starting debut

Denver Broncos rookie OL Netane Muti -- Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos rookie OL Netane Muti -- Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

Broncos rookie RG Netane Muti shined in his NFL debut.

Denver Broncos rookie Netane Muti has come a long way from being in the high school marching band, not knowing a thing about the game of football.

After he was drafted by the Broncos, Muti told the official team website in an interview that he didn’t know the rules of the game, didn’t know any of the positions, but that after spending his freshman year of high school with the marching band, he just went out there and did what coaches told him to do.

Considering Muti’s path to the NFL dating all the way back to his high school days, it makes his debut for the Broncos in Sunday’s win over the Carolina Panthers all the more impressive.

With Graham Glasgow nursing an injury, Muti got the call at right guard for the Broncos over Austin Schlottmann, who has been the primary backup for Glasgow all season.

This year was expected to be a redshirt year for Muti, whose injury history is rather extensive. In fact, it’s probably the primary reason why he wasn’t drafted any higher than the sixth round.

Muti, listed at 6-foot-3 and 315 pounds, was an absolute mauler in his time at Fresno State. Unfortunately, finding game footage with him in it is like watching for a lunar eclipse. He started all 14 games of his freshman season but in his sophomore and junior seasons, he played just five games combined.

The physical tools, athleticism, and highlight-reel blocks (no kidding) were there for Muti, earning him some top 50 grades from draft outlets. As a matter of fact, Pro Football Focus rated him as the 37th overall player in the class of 2020.

There are some guys you can just tell that they’ve got “it”. Muti has it.

Physically, he’s an absolute beast with the ideal frame for an NFL guard and Larry Allen-like strength.

Muti’s physical and athletic talent is so impressive. He wasn’t able to work out at the 2020 Scouting Combine in full, but he clearly would have dominated the drills had he been at full speed.

The tape against Carolina has direct evidence of that.

Although he wasn’t flawless in pass protection, Muti was tremendous in the running game. In particular, Muti was very good on the pull plays the Broncos have been running so well this season.

On one particular drive, Muti was the pulling guard on four running plays that all went for first-down yardage.

When the Broncos got into the red zone, they faced 3rd-and-6 and sent Dalton Risner on a pull and Muti was responsible for blocking two guys on one play.

On a screen to Melvin Gordon later in the game, Muti smacked down fellow rookie Yetur Gross-Matos on his way out to be a lead blocker for Gordon, knocking him down before sprinting out to the defensive back and leaping for a huge block to spring Gordon for a first down.

The Broncos paid quite a bit of money for Graham Glasgow to come in, so his starting spot is probably not in danger right now, but it’s great to see a player like Muti come in for the Broncos and play so well in his first NFL start.

These are the types of things that had evaluators really excited about Muti coming out of Fresno State because he is so athletic, so strong, and like a heat-seeking missile is always looking for a body to get his hands on.

Muti’s active style of play combined with his brute strength and athleticism are fascinating tools for offensive line coach Mike Munchak to work with. Hopefully, this won’t be the last time we see him in 2020.