Bolts Restock Defense, Select Mouton

The Chargers used a third straight pick on defense and tabbed Michigan LB Jonas Mouton with their second pick in Round Two. Mouton provides protection to a position sure to be gutted by free agency and promises to help shore up San Diego's special teams.

It was a question of when, not if, the Chargers would draft an inside linebacker. Stephen Cooper, Kevin Burnett and Brandon Siler are all slated for free agency; A.J. Smith has said he will proceed as if all three are gone until they sign new contracts with the Chargers.

Smith protected himself by picking up Mouton, who played outside linebacker at Michigan but will move inside in San Diego's 3-4 scheme. Mouton was a big-time contributor to the Wolverines' defense each of the last three seasons. He was Michigan's best defender as a senior, when he recorded 111 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions and a forced fumble.

His productivity -- he had nine games with double-digit tackles -- is what drew the Chargers' interest.

LB Jonas Mouton
Mouton will join forces with ILB Donald Butler -- San Diego's third-round pick in 2010 who missed his rookie season with an ACL injury -- in a revamped inside linebacker corps.

Mouton, with second-round pick Marcus Gilchrist, will also be tabbed with shoring up the special teams that were widely credited with submarining the 2010 campaign.

Mouton is an instinctive player who knows how to shed bigger blockers and get to the ball. He has exceptional lateral quickness and can make plays from sideline to sideline. He is disruptive against the run and can blow up plays even when he doesn't make the tackle.

Mouton is strong in the open field and has the experience and skills to emerge as a starter early in his career. He has a high ceiling and should flourish in between former first-round pick Larry English and Pro Bowler Shaun Phillips.

The selection of Mouton means the Chargers have addressed every level of their defense in the first two rounds, an indication that A.J. Smith was not overly impressed by the defense's No. 1 overall ranking in 2010.

What do you think of the Jonas Mouton pick? Discuss inside the message boards.

Michael Lombardo is a long-time contributor to the network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 16 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.

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