During the 2013 season, the Baltimore Ravens never found a way to adequately replace the retired Ray Lewis. Yet, after selecting Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley with the 17th pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Ravens no longer have to worry about it because they found their replacement.
Mosley was projected by some experts to be a top-10 selection; so not only was he a great value pick for the Ravens, but he also fills a big need that will help Baltimore fans forget about old No. 52.
As far as inside linebackers go, Mosley can do it all. He has good size at 6-foot-2, 234-pounds and is experienced in the 3-4 defense having played it in under Nick Saban at Alabama. The two-time All-American is an effective run stopper who is athletic enough to play all three downs, a rarity among today’s linebackers in the NFL.
In addition to his 319 career tackles at Alabama, Mosley had 24 career passes defensed, six and a half sacks and seven interceptions. He has proven capable of covering tight ends and running backs, as well as receivers underneath in zone coverage when needed.
Mosley was widely considered to the best interior linebacker in the 2014 draft, making his fall to No. 17 a bit surprising. But his loss was the Ravens gain, as Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome proved his draft mastery once again on Thursday Night by standing pat and landing a player who should become a perennial Pro-Bowler.
Even though there seemed to be little chance of the Ravens landing Mosley, Newsome was patient and simply took the best player available when it was his turn to pick. It sounds simple, but it takes discipline. Landing a player with the potential to anchor the Ravens’ defense at inside linebacker for the next ten years earns Baltimore an A for the selection of Mosley in round one.