Not being drafted is a feeling Ryan Mueller is all too familiar with, he was a walk-on at Kansas State but earned a spot on the roster because of his no-quit mentality. The Kansas State coaching staff picked up on that quickly when they tried to run him into the ground during his workout with the team and he never stopped going. It impressed them so much that Mueller received an invitation. That fight in Mueller eventually earned him a starting position with the Wildcats and in his junior year he put it all together earning 11.5 sacks and collecting "Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year." Even with an impressive college resume no NFL teams drafted him, mostly because of concerns about being undersized but it wouldn't be long until a team took a chance, that team was the Chargers.
There are a lot of traits to like about him, according to ProFootballFocus, Mueller graded among the Top 15 at the position, with solid grades against the run and as a pass rusher. His 48 pressures from the left side were the second-most in the draft class.
Ryan Mueller prides himself in "creating chaos" and has done just that in Chargers Training Camp. Mueller has been one of the biggest standouts not only among the UDFAs but also among the team in camp with his rapid ascension up the depth chart. A former Defensive End in college, his switch to Outside Linebacker with the Chargers has not seemed to slow him down in his transition to the NFL.
He is very aware of the Chargers track record of keeping Undrafted Free Agents like current players Jahleel Addae and most recently Brandon Oliver but Mueller knows what it's going to take to make this roster "it takes a tremendous amount of work ethic and discipline and you have to be a student of the game." A quality he prides himself on and it translates out on the practice field, "when you learn the playbook it gives you the opportunity to play fast."
"The speed is a little bit faster" Mueller said when referring to the pace at the NFL level "I feel like I'm progressing and I don't feel like the game is too fast for me at all." Once the preseason starts Mueller has a very simple approach "I want to be consistent in my play, I want to make pluses on my grade sheets, know where I'm going, be assignment sound." That attitude of keeping it simple seems to have worked for him out on the practice field.
So far, Mueller has put his stamp on practice showing a quick first step and good bend around the edge collecting multiple touch sacks. He's been sound in pass coverage while showing good penetration in the run game. When Mueller isn't in the backfield, he's shown active hands to bat down passes and a good grasp of securing the edge and knowing where he needs to be. He has made such a case for himself in Training Camp that he has earned snaps with the second team defense. This year more than the previous years, the Chargers have solid depth throughout the entire roster but with his drive, dedication and never-say-die attitude Ryan Mueller will be one of the Undrafted Free Agents to keep an eye on this preseason.