A wise man once uttered the famous phrase, "First impressions are lasting."
So far, Ryan Mouton's plight as a Tennessee Titan more than validates the aforementioned age-old axiom.
From Titans' fans being upset due to him being chosen in the third round over local favorite D.J. Moore, to his untimely case of fumble-itis as a returner in the "forgettable" debacle in the Meadowlands against the Jets, Mouton's had his share of struggles entering his second year in Nashville.
With this weekend's news that fellow 2009 CB draftee Jason McCourty is running with the first team in OTAs due to his strong offseason, the pressure is certainly on Mouton to step up his game.
Recently, defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil issued a stern message to Mouton regarding his lack of participation in the team's offseason activities:
"Mouton admitted he didn't take his job as seriously as he should have until a reminder from Cecil.
"I told him, basically, you need to step up," Cecil said. "We drafted him in the third round last year. … We handpicked him. Our hope is that he'll step up and be that guy.''
Even though Mouton has apparently heard Cecil's words loud and clear, his thunder has been stolen by the emergence of '09 sixth-rounder Jason McCourty, who is doing all the right things as he attempts to join Cortland Finnegan as starting cornerbacks for the Tennessee Titans.
I can't say that I'm surprised by these developments. Despite being selected near the bottom of the draft, I liked what McCourty brought to the table in the form of his size/speed combination and tremendous work ethic. Even during his struggles while engaging in on-the-job-training due to the team's myriad of injuries last year, I thought McCourty performed better than Mouton.
Mouton currently projects as veteran defensive stalwart Vincent Fuller's caddy at nickel, but even that could be subject to change. Apparently, 2010 fourth-rounder Alterraun Verner is making a solid first impression and could challenge for playing time at the nickel spot if Fuller isn't able to go.
Needless to say, it's time for Mouton to step up and avoid being lost in the shuffle in the scramble for playing time at CB.