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AJ and Mouton - A Look Back

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Blue Bolt, Jul 30, 2013.

  1. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

    Oct 28, 2009
    A.J. Smith and Jonas Mouton, a look back
    By Tom Krasovic
    10:45 A.M.JULY 30, 2013

    Five days ago, when Chargers trainers carted off Jonas Mouton, his right anterior cruciate ligament intact no more, the mind drifted back to the Generalissimo.

    “I’m told I can’t find one person who thought the linebacker we took in the second round who didn’t think he was a fifth- or sixth-round guy. Well, I’ve found one guy. Me. He’s a second-rounder here.” -- A.J. Smith after drafting Mouton in 2011.

    No one I know ever accused Smith of being timid. Anyone who runs his team's NFL draft has strong opinions about players, or else wouldn't call the shots. Talking to our Nick Canepa after the 2011 draft, Smith gave voice to his conviction about Mouton, taken 61st.

    He also tucked in a warning: players need to stay healthy.

    Mouton blew out a shoulder four months later in training camp. His rookie season was done before it began. His 2013 season carted off on the first day of camp, Mouton will go into 2014 with zero solo tackles in his NFL career. If not a bust, he's a bus.

    The Generalissimo? Fired in January yet still drawing fat checks from the Chargers, he's a Redskins aide to his old pal and club GM Bruce Allen.

    You wonder: when he thinks of his demise in San Diego, does he think of the likes of Jonas Mouton?

    You also wonder: did ego bloat get the best of him? Alone on Mouton Island, did he resist advice from Chargers scouts? Were they within the horde that viewed the Michigan senior, deemed too slow by many, as a "fifth- or sixth-round guy?"

    The Chargers had need of a pass rusher but passed.

    "We would have liked to have addressed it," John Spanos, then the head of college scouting, told me at the time. "But, sometimes you can't control who's there when you're picking. We want to take the best guys that are there with each pick. We're not going to take a guy solely based on need."

    Mouton looked like a need pick. With Stephen Cooper and Brandon Siler nearing the end, the Chargers signed Takeo Spikes to a three-year contract before camp opened. The better available prospect than Mouton inside, as it turned out, was LSU's Kelvin Sheppard, taken seven spots later. He has 95 tackles for the Bills. Edge rusher Justin Houston, who went 70th to the Chiefs, has 15.5 sacks and 96 tackles.

    Mouton stayed healthy last year but remained glued to the bench behind Spikes.

    After Tom Telesco took over for Smith in January, he took stock of the strong inside linebackers almost certainly with input from defensive coordinator and longtime linebackers coach John Pagano.

    Here's what followed: Telesco cut Spikes, he claimed Packers inside linebacker D.J. Smith, he traded up in the draft to take Notre Dame inside linebacker Manti Te'o 38th, and spoke of a "pretty glaring" void at the position. Mouton's position.

    When Mouton tore up his knee, his salary for 2013 became guaranteed. The Chargers, instead of sending him straight to injured reserve, exposed him to waivers but found no taker. His cap hit for next year would be over $900,000.

    Mistakes in the fifth or sixth round are soon forgotten. Through no fault of his own Mouton became a high-stakes chip. You wonder if qvmake-good contract is in his future, and will it come from the Redskins.
  2. Dublin Bolt

    Dublin Bolt BoltTalker

    Aug 12, 2006
    Great read.

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