When the Chargers selected linebacker Jonas Mouton in the second round of the 2011 draft, it is hard to believe they expected to wait more than 18 months to see him play in a regular season game.
That’s been the case, however. Mouton lost his entire rookie season because of a summer shoulder injury that landed him on injured reserve and he has been a healthy scratch in each of the team’s 11 games this season. With Donald Butler battling a groin injury that’s expected to keep him out of Sunday’s game against the Bengals, Mouton is in line to get on the field for the first non-exhibition game since leaving the University of Michigan.
“When you play football you’re whole life and then you can’t play and it takes a while for you to come back, that’s hard,” Mouton said, via the team’s website. “You always get a little frustrated. But I’ve been preparing and getting ready for my opportunity. And I feel healthy. I feel pretty good. I’m looking forward to this chance. I’ve been preparing my whole year and it’s here now.”
While you can’t do anything about the season-ending injury, it’s not a promising sign that your second-round pick from last year hasn’t been able to find a way to one of the 46 jerseys handed out on gameday. One of the problems in San Diego in recent years has been talent going out without getting replaced by the young players brought in via the draft.
It looks like Mouton will get his first chance to turn that trend around this weekend.