C.J. Mosley isn’t the sexiest pick at No. 17 because inside linebacker wasn’t the greatest need in Baltimore. It probably wasn’t in the top three.
But the Ravens stuck to their tried-and-true best player available mantra and took a player they had ranked very high on their board. And they got a good one.
“People always ask about best available player, what that means,” Ravens Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta said.
“He was the best available player on our board, and he would have been the best available player on the board at 10. We think he’s a great football player. We’re very excited to get him.”
Mosley is a 6-foot-2, 235-pound linebacker out of Alabama who is known for his sideline-to-sideline run-stopping ability, instincts and pass coverage. He’s a complete three-down linebacker.
The Ravens drafted him at No. 17 for more reasons than that, however. Mosley impressed Baltimore both on and off the field, making him an overall slam dunk in their draft room.
“We know we got better as a football team because of the way C.J. plays,” General Manager Ozzie Newsome said. “I really know we got better as an organization because of the person that he is.”
Mosley was a two-time captain at Alabama and widely-known as one of Head Coach Nick Saban’s favorites.
“He’s the one guy that you can’t find anyone to say anything bad about him – how reliable, accountable and dependable he is on and off the field,” Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz said.
“You’re going to love him,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “You’re going to love his work ethic. You’re going to love his personality. He’s going to be in here Monday ready to go to work.”
Newsome has a history of taking players from his alma mater, and he has now added one of the best defensive players Alabama’s ferocious defense has produced in recent years.
The 2013 Dick Butkus Award winner, for best college linebacker, posted 108 tackles, one forced fumble and five passes defensed last year. He had three career interception returns for touchdown over his career.
Mosley was the leader of Alabama’s scary defense, which led the program to back-to-back championships in 2011 and 2012. He was only the fourth player under Saban to receive consensus All-American recognition in multiple seasons.
“Smart, very smart,” DeCosta said. “Relentless player, fast, always involved. He can play the run, play the pass. He should be a great special teams player if we need him to do that.”
The only question mark with Mosley is his health. Mosley had a number of injuries at Alabama, reportedly including dislocations of his elbow (freshman year) and hip (sophomore year), a knee injury and others.
The Ravens put every prospect through a thorough medical check and their doctors gave Newsome and his staff the thumbs up on Mosley.
“There’s no question in my mind that he’s going to be ready to play from Day 1,” Newsome said.
“I’m 100 percent healthy, no red flags coming through the combine and through all the visits,” Mosley said. “The knee checked out and I’m still good. I have a lot of mileage on my body, but I’m ready to go, and my past injuries won’t affect my play.”
Mosley said his agent told him that the Ravens wanted either him or offensive tackle Zack Martin. When Martin was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys at pick No. 16, Mosley said he was just waiting to hear the phone ring from Baltimore.
He grew up as a fan of Ray Lewis, like many young inside linebackers, and got to meet his idol before his senior year at Alabama.
“I felt just like a little kid in a candy shop,” Mosley said of the meeting with Lewis.
“I talked to the Ravens multiple times, I talked to Mr. Ozzie Newsome and he told me if I was still there, I’d have a high chance of going there. Once I realized I was a good chance of being that pick, I was just living in the moment. I was just happy.”