July 23, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers linebacker Jonas Mouton (57) during a blocking drill in training camp at Charger Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
By James Fedewa
Every successful NFL organization builds though the draft. A good draft can equate to good team (usually and generally, and on paper). Grading talented prospects and building through an NFL Draft are the building blocks, but in reality, health builds the foundation of a successful NFL organization (health and a major chunk of luck). Just like with parenthood, being present is 90% of the game, and if big and ridiculous injuries remove players from the football field, then health is vital for all NFL teams.
Three of San Diego’s young defensive prospects have suffered ACL knee injuries that can affect this 2013 season:
- 2012 Third round draft pick, Strong Safety, Brandon Taylor (end 2012; ACL injury)
- 2012 First round draft pick, outside linebacker, Melvin Ingram (OTA 2013; ACL injury)
- 2011 second round draft pick, inside linebacker, Jonas Mouton (Training Camp 2013; injury)
ACL knee injuries can take 7 to 12 months of recovery and rehabilitation before an effective return. In the past, ACL injuries required one full year of mending, but with new and alternative medical advancements, healing times are becoming quicker for young professional athletes. In a sport that there are only 16 regular season games, one injury can potentially affect two seasons.
Safety, Brandon Taylor suffered his knee injury in week 16 last season (in his first NFL start), seven months ago. Backup cornerback Marcus Gilchrist has taken his spot for the moment, but he has no NFL experience at the position. Veteran Darrell Stuckey should be the leading candidate to start the season, but Taylor still might be the opening day starter, as he is progressing well.
Although pass-rusher Melvin Ingram’s injury happened two months ago during organized team activities, there are talks that he may return by the end of the season. Only if the Chargers find a way to the playoffs, Ingram should rest and reset till next season.
Jonas Mouton is the latest to be added to the Chargers ACL list and is very disappointing misfortune for the young athlete. Mouton season is over after the first day of training camp and is young with a chip on his shoulder. Chargers fans have yet to see much of Mouton yet, as this will be Mouton’s third season, all littered with injuries.
Grading draft picks versus draft busts are very subjective and slanted, but injuries are not. Injuries are a part of the game and depth is the basic fundamental of the whole NFL system. Everyone gets injured and injuries should not designate boom or bust players. All NFL players must play injured, but luck in keeping that player playing and on the field can help you win or lose championships.
The Chargers have been plagued by injures over the last three seasons; and since bad things happen in THREE’s, and ACL injuries are bad, hopefully the Chargers have seen the last of these unfortunate and cruel (knee) twists.