Monday, February 14, 2011

Jonas Mouton, #8

Jonas Mouton (#8) makes a tackle at Iowa

2010 Countdown: #10 Jonas Mouton

Linebacker Jonas Mouton played his final game for Michigan on January 1 against the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

Coming out of high school in Venice, CA, Mouton was a very highly touted player.  He was a 5-star recruit and the #6 safety in the country, according to Scout.  Rivals ranked him a 4-star player and the #3 safety.  At 6'2" and already a solid 210 lbs. or so coming out of high school, it should have been clear that he would bulk up and become a linebacker.  I'm not sure why Scout and Rivals didn't catch on to that.

Mouton arrived at Michigan and almost immediately became a linebacker.  He redshirted as a freshman in 2006 to learn the position and add some weight.  After the redshirt year, he backed up Chris Graham at weakside linebacker in Ron English's 4-3 system.  That year (2007) he made 5 tackles at linebacker and on kick coverage.  Once Graham graduated following the 2007 season, Mouton backed up Marell Evans for one game and then earned the starting WILL job in the second game against Utah.  He finished the season with 76 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, and 1 sack.  As the incumbent in 2009, Mouton had a subpar year.  The defense was abysmal, and the inside linebackers - Mouton and Obi Ezeh - constantly looked lost.  Mouton ended the season with 66 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery, and 4 pass breakups.  As a fifth year senior in 2010, Mouton led the Big Ten in tackles with 117.  He also had 8.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions, 3 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble, and 2 fumble recoveries.

264 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 4 interceptions, 7 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble, 3 fumble recoveries

2nd team All-Big Ten in 2010 . . . Roger Zatkoff Award (U of M's best linebacker) in 2010

Mouton's 4-star ranking on Rivals was a bit more accurate than Scout's.  He turned into a solid starter and even earned All-Big Ten 2nd team honors as a fifth year senior.  However, I'm not exactly sure how a player leads the league in tackles, tosses in a couple sacks and interceptions, and doesn't get 1st team all-conference status.  If Michigan's defense wasn't the worst in the school's history, I have to believe that Mouton would have been 1st team.  In fact, if he played for Ohio State and put up those numbers, he might have been up for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.  So the lack of respect might have to do with Michigan's overall defensive performance.  It also might have been based on Mouton's underperformance.  With all the speed and agility Mouton has, he didn't make many spectacular plays.  Aside from the interception against Notre Dame and his pass rush on the final play against Illinois, he looked like just a guy.

Mouton ought to play in the NFL.  He has prototypical size (6'2", 240 lbs.) and decent speed in order to play several positions.  He could be an OLB or ILB in a 3-4, or he could be a weakside linebacker in a 4-3.  The coaching at his linebacker position was subpar throughout most of his career, but Mouton still made mistakes as a senior that he shouldn't have been making by that point.  Still, I expect him to be a late round draft pick for a team that thinks they can coach him up.


  1. Mouton’s 2nd-team All-Big Ten status may have been a bit generous. Mouton had a lot of tackles because he was out there an awful lot, the product of a quick-strike offense and a defense that surrendered a lot of long drives. Even on a terrible defense, every non-scoring play ends with a tackle by _somebody_. That doesn’t necessarily mean that Mouton played especially well.

  2. @ March Shepherd 9:04 a.m.

    I know what you're saying, but I think leading the league in tackles has to count for something. Even with a quick-strike offense that put the defense on the field more frequently, I think leading the league in tackles ought to count for something. Ultimately, I think the team's overall defensive performance probably cost him some respect around the league. It's true that there were a lot of tackles to be made, but Mouton was the one making them. And on top of that, his 2 picks and 2 sacks were a plus as well.

  3. Just in general, you're putting up some quality stuff lately. It seems like you're a little more measured/professional (a little less hyperbole) without sacrificing being opinionated. Obviously, I wouldn't keep coming back and commenting if I didn't think the content here was good, but I thought it was worth saying.

    I was a big fan of Mouton compared to many but I don't think he came close to being all conference 1st team. The stats are nice, but are a somewhat a function of how many damn plays the D had to face.

  4. Agree with Marc. Stats can be misleading if not taking into account context. Moutons totals indicate something - he's worth discussing, but they alone don't make him an all-conference player anymore than the MLB's who rack up huge tackle totals because of the systems they play in.

  5. Another thing that probably cost him respect was his penchant for blowing coverage assignments. It became clear to me over the last two seasons that opposing OC's targeted him in the passing game, especially with play action and RB's sneaking out into pass patterns. Of course, the UM defensive coaching was bad and the schemes were not consistent, so that has to be considered. But you are right in that he did not have the discipline you would expect from a 5th year guy. One of my biggest hopes from the new staff is to see the return of disciplined LB play.

    Mouton may make for a good pro because it will allow him more time to focus on mental aspects. The physical tools are there for sure, including tackling ability.

  6. For some perspective, the other all-conference selections (media and coaches combined) were:

    1st Team
    Brian Rolle, OSU: 76 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 INT
    Ross Homan, OSU: 72 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT
    Greg Jones, MSU: 106 tackles, 1 sack, 2 INT
    Martez Wilson, Ill.: 112 tackles, 4 sacks, 1 INT

    2nd Team
    Eric Gordon, MSU: 92 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT
    Jeremiha Hunter, Iowa: 90 tackles, 1 INT

    Like I said, put Mouton on a winning team with his stats, and I'd bet he's a 1st teamer or even the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. It's true that he played on a bad defense, but does that account for literally having 41 and 45 tackles more than Rolle or Homan? I just don't think Mouton should be punished as an individual for having a bad coordinator/coach and young teammates.

  7. @ Lankownia

    Thanks for the compliments. They are appreciated. I know sometimes we get into somewhat heated debates, but it's nice talking to knowledgeable Michigan fans, even if we do disagree.

    I agree that stats can be taken out of context, but there's a reason that stats are kept. It's a tool for measurement. The fact that the conference's leading tackler wasn't even a second-team All Big Ten player (according to the coaches) is a little odd. I don't think it's a coincidence that MSU and OSU both had two players on the 1st and 2nd teams; it's partly because they're good players but probably also because their teams only lost one game each in the regular season. If Eric Gordon, Jeremiha Hunter, Brian Rolle, or Ross Homan were on a 7-5 team, I doubt any one of them would be in the discussion.

  8. By the way, here are some other Michigan players with comparable stats to Rolle/Homan/Hunter:

    Cameron Gordon: 77 tackles, 3 interceptions, 1 TD
    Kenny Demens: 82 tackles
    Jordan Kovacs: 116 tackles, 2 interceptions, 1 sack

    I'm not saying they all should have been all-conference players, but it shows how underwhelming 72 tackles, 1 pick, and 1 INT can be.

  9. @ Painter Smurf

    I agree that he seemed to be targeted at times, although I think weakside linebackers are generally susceptible to being tested in the passing game, regardless of who they are. There were several breakdowns on his part throughout the season, but I'm guessing a thorough breakdown of defensive plays (like Brian does on MGoBlog) for each team would show some faults by Rolle, Homan, Gordon, Jones, etc. as well. It seems like Michigan fans are a little more aware of stuff like that because of the intelligence of the fanbase and the vast amount of video and blog material on the internet. For every poor read by Mouton, I'd guess there's a similarly poor read by the aforementioned guys, too. But that's obviously just a guess.

  10. Sigh...imagine if he'd been coached by Mattison instead of Hopson/GERG

  11. The fat stats for Michigan players show the problem. Michigan's D just faced a buttload of plays because it stunk. Someone has to get tackles and a lot of time it was Mouton and Kovacs. That doesn't make them great players.

    I agree that being on a good team helps a lot, and Homan may indeed not deserve it. I also agree that Mouton's errors may have been overplayed - having good teammates who clean up for you can help mitigate mistakes.

    Yet, Mouton's 2nd team status is no great tragedy. He made big plays, which is underrated (at least on Mgoblog), but he wasn't a great player. He didn't make his teammates better and his mistakes, while arguably justifiable, were frequent, especially for a 5th year player.

  12. Mouton seems like a good guy from what I heard from one of my buddies. He had dinner at my friend's house every couple weeks after he began playing a lot of golf at a local country club (my dad's friend is the pro). He said Mouton was always fully aware of his egregious mental mistakes, and tried his best to fix him. FWIW, he really liked Robinson as a defensive coordinator, which kind of shocked me.

  13. Sounds like a Steelers late round pick. They seem to love these type of guys.

  14. Wow Demens made 82 tackles? Didn't he only start 1/4 of the games?

    I really think Gordon will be an elite OLB. He was WAY out of positon at FS but this kid will be Mouton + coverage skills.

  15. @ Lankownia 7:07 p.m.

    For comparison, I checked Mouton's stats against those of Homan:

    Mouton had 11.9% of the team's tackles.
    Homan had 8.5% of OSU's tackles.

    Mouton had 11.1% of the team's sacks.
    Homan had 4.3% of OSU's sacks.

    Mouton had 16.9% of the team's interceptions.
    Homan had 5.3% of OSU's interceptions.

    I agree that it's not a travesty that Mouton was 2nd team (to the media) and left off the coaches' ballot. If it were, I probably would have brought up this issue sooner. But judging from the statistics, Mouton was more valuable to his team than Homan. And while it's true that Mouton was probably on the field for a higher percentage of his team's plays than Homan (since Michigan was in closer games than OSU, on average), I'm not sure that the higher number of snaps for Mouton makes up for the fact that he made 29% more tackles.

  16. Without having paid much attention to Homon, I'd say the stats back up your argument that Mouton deserves it more than he did. The % of tackles is interesting.